I had planned to give my class some free choice ‘golden time’ on the first morning back at school but one of them asked if we could have Maths because he had missed doing it with his friends. He was full of enthusiasm for learning, barely able to keep still on his chair!
After one week I have been reflecting on how the younger children that I teach have been coping since returning from lockdown learning and how they have changed. Those who were in school daily during this last lockdown appear to be more patient in class. Might this be as a result of sometimes having to wait for their peers at home struggling to deal with failing internet connections during our ‘live’ lessons?
Over the last twelve weeks or so, these same children have become more tolerant of each other. Children of key workers thrown together into a smaller group were previously not all close friends, so they have had to compromise during playtimes. Now they are listening to each other more; those not so able to empathise realise that empathy is a valuable trait for a friend to have!
Those at home have also had to learn tolerance; they have had to accept a different relationship with mum or dad being a teacher as well as a parent. From adults and children there have been tears and tantrums, but love and forgiveness too.
Most of the children who have been learning remotely are now more independent; they have been learning to plan and think ahead, reading assignments and organising their own resources at home. In my classroom this week these children have been full of positive energy which is infectious; there is also a sense of real delight to be back in their classroom.
They have learnt how to be more resilient (one of Vinehall’s five learning dispositions) discovering that things do not always work out perfectly and easily the first time. In our lessons, even those children who did not relish speaking on-screen were brave in participating as best they could; now it seems easier for them to put up their hand in class at school. Their self-confidence has really grown.
‘My daughter is thrilled to be back at school and this morning was singing: “I’m going to school today, I’m going to school today!” She seems to have settled back as if she has never been away, which is great.’
I received this cheerful news in an email from a parent who, like many, has been so supportive of staff as her child joined in lessons remotely. I am so happy for the little girl, eight years old, who has missed the routine and security of school for three months. Bouncing back from such a challenging time like this is something we all need to try to do.
I feel very proud of my class this week, and very lucky to be their teacher. As soon as government rules allow, I shall hug every single one of them.
Carina Everist, Year 3 teacher Vinehall