//vol.13-3 Insight: secondary school
Converting to online learning and managing face-to-face teaching in the classroom under Covid restrictions was a big challenge. Resources in the classroom could not be shared. It was quite frustrating at times because all the students had to face the front and so our usual teaching for mixed ability groups was not possible.
The only answer was to create my own teaching materials using existing online resources and quiz games to maintain a sense of fun and engagement. I worked in a team of language teachers and we shared tips. After hours of creating PowerPoint presentations for online lessons we also checked each other’s work for errors. You couldn’t see them for looking! I helped some colleagues with online platforms and presenting efficiently while developing my own techniques.
Many of my students excelled. They responded very positively to my continuous online feedback and I saw learners progress to an extent that could not have happened without intensive marking, returns and feedback. The whole process allowed for dialogue which wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. It was extremely effective and in the coming year, I plan to maintain PowerPoint-based teaching. It can serve to support blended learning in future if needed.
The whole process allowed for dialogue which wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.
Students had their own challenges. I foresee mental health, behaviour and wellbeing issues continuing well into the coming academic year. Ongoing management and support are provided creating all-round awareness so affected students with a high prevalence of anxiety can always find help, even during panic attacks.
As a teacher, I appreciate the open-door policy operated by the principal. Any member of staff who needs support may talk in confidence about any problems they experience.. Regular wellbeing sessions are run and we have been able to use the local gym at reduced rates and do meditation classes online.
Personally, I have never worked so hard in my life as I have during the pandemic so, taken together, these measures have been both timely and effective and have made a huge difference at a time when we have all been under unprecedented pressure.
MBL prefers to use an acronym for her name. She is the head of a second language teaching department in the UK.