As the summer term progressed it felt as if normal was being continuously updated. At school we had refined and developed our online teaching so that it followed the same format as lessons for our year 10 students. Lessons start with a low stakes quiz so check students’ learning – to see what they have retained from the previous lesson, week and module. It is all about drawing the long term memory into play so when the GCSEs have to be taken the students aren’t doing last minute cramming but feel confident and secure.
We taught using Google Meet as the medium and students were invited to join the class to access the learning, two teachers were in each class and lessons were recorded and saved to ensure there was no safeguarding issues. Our year 10 students did remarkably well and the majority soon developed new habits to allow them to develop as learners. Our school provided a timetable for students for years 7, 8, 9 which was online learning. My job was to look after the year 7 Geography and I really enjoyed putting lessons together and having that online contact with the students. Those who had engaged well got a praise email and I started to look up Geography puns… your work has been lavaly, your work rocks, etc. They went down well and students replied with corney Geography jokes!
After half term I was back on the rota which meant I could contribute in person in school. Our school was very well organised with small groups of students being in “bubbles” of no more than 10, a timetable, lots of hand sanitising equipment and frequent reminders about social distancing. It felt odd but good to be back in the school environment – I felt that the students and staff had adapted to the new normal. During this time we carried out a much reduced new staff induction with a focus on safeguarding and our pedagogy.
Gradually we worked our way to the 17th July and the end of term. Our leadership team met in person, we were in a large classroom and it was great to meet colleagues/friends to review what had happened since March and to start to plan for September. Normal had been updated and the proof of the pudding would be how it was implemented with all the students back… but there is a while to wait for that!