Teaching during lockdown has produced some unique challenges. Whilst it has shown how flexible we can be in rapidly switching to online learning platforms, it has once again highlighted the issue of social inequality with regards to accessing education. Not every child has access to a tablet or laptop, and in many cases are sharing these devices with their siblings, both for education and for entertainment.
On a personal level, I have found this troubling. I, like I’m sure all teachers did, came into this job because I care about children. I want the best for them and for each child to realise their potential. Not seeing my class, engaging with them, making sure they are ok educationally and personally, fills me with anxiety. Are they ok? Am I doing my best for them? I have to bring myself back to understanding my spheres of influence, and by providing regular resources, entertaining content and by keeping in touch with parents via online platforms. I’m doing what I can. Which is all anyone can do in these unprecedented times.
My advice for parents of primary age children during lockdown is just read, read and read some more. Share your favourite stories from childhood. Use Newsround to keep up to date with the wider world. Go out into the garden, find some insects or flowers. Categorize these through similar features or use books and internet resources (if able) to identify them and learn about the world in your back garden. Follow some recipes and cook together. All of these activities teach valuable life skills including developing a wider vocabulary, practical math skills and the ability for children to work scientifically. More importantly, they are activities that bring you together, because now more than ever, being there for each other is the greatest thing we can do.
Some useful apps and online tools
- Class Dojo (school-based chat system for enabling children to access work, and allow school communication with parents)
- Read Theory (online system which contains lots and lots of reading comprehension through different text types and quiz-style comprehension questions)
- Epic (website which has access to lots and lots of books to encourage reading for pleasure. Children have the opportunity to have the book read out loud to them by the website)
- Times Table Rockstars (for various times tables-based activities and games, to make times tables fun)
- Purple Mash (teachers can set various curriculum-based challenges that children can complete and respond to via the website)