Rather than jump on the Uni thread with the big boys how is teaching?
We're 1 week in to a two week remote period before we return to campus. We're an independent school in New England so have low case counts (mainly just clusters from parties), and small class sizes (14 students max per class).
TBH it's exhausting still. Lots of confrontation/arguing amongst staff and the admin. Lots of staff unwilling to work in person (even with no health concerns) and then those that are willing are working with students more.
I think we can return to campus but it has been a shit show with 'task forces' set up using anonymous emails etc.
We're banned from competition so coaching sports is hard but many teachers are very against kids competing.
My DBS annual payment didn't go through so I can't teach until I get a new one. (Criminal record etc)
Given that schools are having to send year groups home all over the place I'm not too bothered.
Based on the teachers I've spoken to they are knackered, stressed and a bit scared. This is pretty much the case with myself and all my non teacher friends too!
Yeah it's pretty exhausting.
Many are taking early retirement here.
TBH my time with the kids is the least stressful time. It's all the other stuff outside of the class. I just taught a history class because our history teacher quit and walked out a few days before the year started.
I teach in a middle school and it’s been a really mixed response. Oldest students seem a bit subdued and anxious whereas the year 5s seem nearly feral.
Tge workload is ok as we aren’t marking but trying to teach from the front is so difficult, especially with weaker students
cor, do you get to mess with the Americans heads about the boston tea party &Co?
> cor, do you get to mess with the Americans heads about the boston tea party &Co?
Definitely make sure that they don't forget who trashed the White House in 1814. We don't want chlorinated chicken.
Not bad thanks.
Lots of mask wearing and dousing in the Holy anti-bac.
Kids happy to be back. Killed active learning somewhat but still trying to avoid chalk and talk.
Should be fine as long as we don’t catch a deadly virus or anything....
Y7 tutor, so I've had 4 great days getting to know my new form as they have had zero transition time. That part has been great. Lots of time with enthusiastic students. Great to see all of my colleagues who are wanting this to work for the new students.
It's all the other bits that are stressing me out. My normal classes i've taught - won't be like they were. I not longer have a classroom - which as a science teacher with a lab and a lot of practical work makes things interesting
Quite happy I'm not drinking at the moment (two month no booze before the OMM rule) as I suspect I would be right now otherwise. Haven't slept much this week at all. Will crack on next week and see how it goes.
> Rather than jump on the Uni thread with the big boys how is teaching?
Really enjoying it. Like everything, you don't really value it until it is taken away. Loving wittering on and waving my arms about in front of an actual whiteboard and actual live pupils.
But I have an awful feeling that we are living on borrowed time and that the dystopian electronic nightmare of remote teaching might return. If this virus spreads readily between older teenagers we are probably f*****🙁.
Edit: I also feel that I am potentially far more exposed to the virus than I have been since the start of lockdown.
I would very much agree with your final point. During the lockdown I was working in school with about half of my year 6 class. This was with careful social distancing in place and relatively small numbers of children in school operating in isolation in terms of both pupils and staff.
During this week we have had the whole school back in with no social distancing between children in the same bubble, 30 year five children in my fairly small room and some school staff who seem to think that it is all safe now.
We are under great pressure to catch up the children who were already behind, haven’t done any school work for six months and are in some cases completely out of the routine of school. This isn’t what we and they need at present.
In spite of these factors, I have had an enjoyable week with my new class.
School doesn’t feel safe and it isn’t. There are now older people that I won’t see now, including my parents. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next months. Why we aren’t testing teachers at present, I have no idea. We don’t have much idea about the spread of Covid in schools. Testing would give us peace of mind and enable us to go about our jobs and lives with greater safety and confidence.
Tend to agree that routine testing in schools as is done in care homes would be a good idea.
> Really enjoying it. Like everything, you don't really value it until it is taken away. Loving wittering on and waving my arms about in front of an actual whiteboard and actual live pupils.
Me too!!! I've loved having a class again. Year 3 this year. They're such a lovely bunch. I can indulge my silly side.
We're working in 'class bubbles' but a lot of learning time has been eaten by Covid stuff - hand washing etc.
I'm lucky. The management team at my school are top notch and super super supportive of staff. However, I have no doubt that if the virus is in the community then it will soon be in my classroom. I hope we can keep everyone safe and contribute to setting children up for their futures.
Stay safe all, BB.
> School doesn’t feel safe and it isn’t. There are now older people that I won’t see now, including my parents. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next months. Why we aren’t testing teachers at present, I have no idea. We don’t have much idea about the spread of Covid in schools. Testing would give us peace of mind and enable us to go about our jobs and lives with greater safety and confidence.
Amen to that. Take care. I've watched the campus fill up significantly over the last week and wonder at what point I should stop seeing my mum and dad, for now our building is closed to students but very soon those lecture theatres and rooms and corridors are going to be full of the most dangerous age group in the country. Sh*t.
> School doesn’t feel safe and it isn’t.
I don't think it's meant to be and can't be. I think the idea is that keeping schools open is now a top priority, but this depends on people sticking to the rules and keeping other areas of life safe to protect schools. Unfortunately I don't think this is going to happen.
Things all just feel a bit slack in our school. Low mask compliance and pupils not following other covid related rules. If there's an outbreak I think the leadership will get hammered.
As for pupils, everyone was worried about the academic impact of lockdown but I'm finding that to be negligible. The social, emotional and behavioural impacts are much more obvious. Pupils were pretty subdued for the first few weeks but it's increasingly clear that some are really struggling with the reintroduction of structure and other people.
Agree with the point on SEMH - I purposely went to find one of my y11s when they were in to chat (distanced, mask, outside, and a bubble I teach). She’s found it tough being near people, knowing she’s potentially spreading something, but has missed the company of others. A difficult balance as her peers and our pastoral team are her mental support.We’re going to have a lot of students like this.
Monday will be interesting with all back in. Already had y12 students wandering outside their cordoned area not at all worried.
positive side, mask wearing and cleaning compliance by my colleagues is excellent. But they are adults, I’d expect nothing less. But I suspect we will be back remote working within weeks.
You just feel it was it was - in my school kids are being kept in year group bubbles in separate sectors of the schools and have all their lessons in the same few classrooms. But the only way of doing this is for the teachers to move every lesson - something which we haven't needed to do so much before (some teachers do but most get their own room - with science, DT, art, IT obviously having their own rooms/workshops/studios etc.). I'm fit enough for this to not be a huge burden, but I'm probably clocking up a km or so over a day shooting back and forward from one end of the school to the other. It makes having access to resources like printed of worksheets or text books a pain. For the more difficult groups its also impacted on discipline, because you can't really tell them now that if they carry on they'll get a detention because the school has quietly had to cut back on keeping kids after school for all the obvious reasons!
And for the teachers the biggest thing that became apparent was that although we stay theoretically 2 mtrs from the kids at the front of the class (easy in some classes almost impossible in others) as soon as we leave the classroom to go to another at break or lunch you tend to be walking through crowds and crowds of kids who are yelling and mucking around and doing all the normal stuff kids do at lunch time. I didn't have my mask with me on Monday, but all the rest of the hand cleaning and social distancing seemed pointless after walking down one corridor with a hundred odd Y9s yelling and pushing past you and each other. Lots of us are now wearing masks to move between classes.
A climber mate who teaches at another school in Sheffield has said their VIth form seems has had a number of +ve tests. It will be interesting to see in the next week or so if it spreading in schools, or if kids are getting at home or when out and about. I guess sooner or later there will be clear clusters that were spread through schools.
> But I suspect we will be back remote working within weeks.
My impression is that plenty of other things will get shut etc before schools do and that we'll be expected to soldier on and stay open.
Going to be hard to soldier on when most of the teaching staff end up self isolating!
Positive side - I much prefer teaching than sitting in front of my laptop "teaching" remotely.
A mixed bag of responses thanks to all for sharing.
Could someone explain why students in their bubbles are kept as socially distanced as possible in the class rooms yet once outside of this corridors break and lunchtime etc they can effectively do what they like and barge past each other or play football etc?
An honest question having seen whats happening at our local school and reading these comments. I presume it's impossible to manage outside of the control of the classroom?
Good luck all
Very different in each school. Our bubbles are year groups, not classrooms. They don’t move between classrooms, arrive/leave at different times, have own food and social spaces. Lunches and breaks are also staggered. In theory there should be no crossover between bubbles.
> A mixed bag of responses thanks to all for sharing.
> Could someone explain why students in their bubbles are kept as socially distanced as possible in the class rooms yet once outside of this corridors break and lunchtime etc they can effectively do what they like and barge past each other or play football etc?
> An honest question having seen whats happening at our local school and reading these comments. I presume it's impossible to manage outside of the control of the classroom?
> Good luck all
Different In our Primary. We're doing a good job of keeping bubbles in bubbles. Staggered / segregated play times etc.
Obviously, they're all mixing in the park straight after school tho! Ah well.
Feeling pretty knackered today. Was planning a bit of a run / camp on Dartmoor this afternoon and evening but this week has actually been pretty full on and I reckon some recovery will serve me better.
I decided to do very little today. Quite tired. Long run can wait until tomorrow!
> Lots of us are now wearing masks to move between classes.
Confined spaces without regulated movement are likely to be high risk.
I left Reading for the first time since lockdown this week, for a meeting at another facility which has rooms connected via a maze of corridors. Their policy was mask wearing in the corridors, and then removed in the rooms, where social distancing can be controlled by fixed seating arrangements. Very like a school, although with far fewer people around.
My office is large and open plan, and has no narrow corridors. We have not needed to adopt masks, especially as there's only about 1/10 the normal complement of staff on site, and we are working in small 'bubbles' of three to four people.
> Could someone explain why
Well, contact time will play a significant part in infection. So, in class, in their bubble, they have a significant contact time, within an enclosed space. Outside, assuming pretty much Brownian motion (!), their contact times are likely to be much shorter. If they're playing semi-contact games, that contact may be closer than in class... Infectivity is roughly proportional to contact time, and inversely proportional to contact distance.
Or it could be that your school needs to rethink its exterior play policy, in line with some of the other replies you've had...
I think if school staff are going to wear masks, they probably ought to be masks that prevent incoming infection, to protect the teachers from their largely invulnerable pupils...
It’s had ups & downs. I’m also a year 7 tutor this year (5 years flies by!), so welcoming them & trying to settle them in has been enjoyable, if exhausting.
As for the rest of it, exhausting isn’t the word for it! I’ve averaged 14.3km a day this week around campus, moving to the students rather than them coming to me, picking up classes after breaks, herding them down to & back from booked & sanitised practical work areas etc. I’ve ended each day exhausted, and my colleagues seem to be the same.
The measures put in place to keep year groups separate do seem to be working, but quite often at the detriment of teacher safety. I’ve not felt safe once since going back, be it in packed corridors in ‘bubble zones’ or trying to convince myself that an old classroom with hardly any ventilation is a good place to be with 28 other people. We’ve been given masks & visors, but I can’t talk loudly enough in the former and the latter fogs up too easily, and social distancing is utterly impossible. It’s not a good feeling to have, knowing you’re breaking all of the rules you’ve followed for the last 6 months to avoid getting the damned virus.
On the bright side though, there’s loads of free hand sanitiser!
> On the bright side though, there’s loads of free horrible tasting alcohol!
FIxed that for you ;)
Ours makes eating lunch without washing your hands first a memorable experience
> FIxed that for you ;)
> Ours makes eating lunch without washing your hands first a memorable experience
I'm pretty certain our current batch came from a whisky still, a definite whisky odour about it.
> FIxed that for you ;)
> Ours makes eating lunch without washing your hands first a memorable experience
I make my own chocolate liqueurs with it and so far, Terry's Chocolate Orange is the best with After Eights a close second.
My stress levels have reached a new limit as my computer won’t let me open any of my saved PowerPoint files. Balls. I think I might need to be in early on Monday morning to sort this out. Might do some pull-ups and then drink wine....
14.3 Kms!?! How massive is your school?! Is the decimal point in the right place?
I got out of school quickly on Friday and out into the Peak in time to do four sports routes before it got too gloomy. This afternoon I went to Pin Dale for the first time and got another 6 routes in. It some how feels like I deserve it, although tomorrow will be lesson planning.
Get out if you can - you deserve it!
> I got out of school quickly on Friday and out into the Peak
Ive done this once or twice. It’s a five hour drive but it was worth it.
Quite a lot of anti american messaging goes in.. but tbh it's elite new England prep so super liberal. I of course point out any British scientist.. but also lots of climate change jabs.
Tbh my main issue is teachers. We had dialogue, mitigated concerns as best we could, students wear masks, small class sizes. So let's just get on with it now, but instead it's a lot of obstruction and bad attitudes among the staff exploiting the fact we have a new head. It's just added another level of stress and negativity when we should be trying to give the students some normality and positive attitude.
I think too many think we should have no face to face contact yet they still want other professions to go to work in person..
That looks brilliant!
> Get out if you can - you deserve it!
Thank you. Yeah, bag packed for tomorrow. Managed to get most of the prep for next week sorted. South Moor tomorrow I think. Cheers!
I can’t fathom the teachers moving thing as that just adds to the risk for them and doesn’t work well in a secondary setting. In our school it’s the teachers that stay put unless covering other classes when staff are absent. Means they can own their own space and keep it sanitised. They seem to prefer it. The kids mix anyway.
One issue for me is not having anywhere to shower when I get in after I ride to work (16km).
Well I say issue for me... I don’t really mind tbh. May help with social distancing actually :D
Not a chance I won’t ride in, already lost my ability to run in ( I get far, far to sweaty) and it’s how I burn off at the end of the day.
Out to a permanent orienteering course tomorrow before we head to the crag for some family friendly bouldering with the 3 year old. Making the most of the weekends while we can still have them.
> I can’t fathom the teachers moving thing as that just adds to the risk for them and doesn’t work well in a secondary setting. In our school it’s the teachers that stay put unless covering other classes when staff are absent. Means they can own their own space and keep it sanitised. They seem to prefer it. The kids mix anyway.
Yes, kids staying put might work in Primary, but simply wouldn't work in Secondary for teaching. And no teacher likes being shunted around! Kids mostly socialise within their own year group, so those bubbles are natural. I'm also not convinced by the masks in corridors thing either - contact in corridors is always shortlived and it means constant touching of faces and masks as they take them on and off. Apart from the sanitising, I think most measures are pretty much cosmetic.
We have masks on from the moment we walk towards the door. We have 'mask breaks' to go outside to take them off.
We're independent so mega relaxed and massive grounds so we are just teaching outside once we return to campus. We've bought a few big marquee style tents for outside teaching.
But we just spent $3 million making classrooms bigger and new air filtration systems, which is why return to campus was delayed.
Again though, we're independent ($40,000 a year), and small class sizes (10-14) so we can be back at school much easier than the local state schools who are 30-35 kids per class.
> We have masks on from the moment we walk towards the door. We have 'mask breaks' to go outside to take them off.
I'd really hate to teach in a mask!
> .........we are just teaching outside once we return to campus.
I'm permanently on the cold side already teaching indoors with windows and doors open for ventilation - not sure how that's going to work out in December!
I think it's just teachers moving between classes is the only way to keep the year groups "bubbled". Keeping the years separate means the kids in class don't have to social distance, or at break or lunch, and if we get cases at worst only one year group would have to self isolate. That's the theory anyway.
Yeah I have an accent so the kids struggle enough, plus we have deaf kids who lip-read but we're getting see through masks.
We'll have good weather until mid October or so but once it hits November it can be anything and it can be brutally cold, -10 C and below once we hit December so no idea how we'll cope.
Tbh I'd be amazed if we make the academic year without considerable periods of remote learning. I'd just like a good 1-2 months in person to build relationships.
> Another big problem that’s arisen for us is that due to changes in timetabling & staggered lunches for year group bubbles, teachers are often being left with 10-15 mins lunch breaks at best, if any at all. Fortunately, we’ve got a union meeting this week to try and sort that out, along with a few other issues.
Some of the measures put in place aren't sustainable, for example we have to vacate the building 30 mins after the pupils.
Management have tried to justify some of the more inconvenient measures by saying they're only temporary but they're likely to be in place for the whole academic year.
So the kids are bubbled in groups of several hundred but the adults move across several of the bubbles.
As do sibling groups and those on buses.
All fur coat and no knickers.
I suppose we should be grateful for the u turn on masks in corridors and on buses.
Some head teachers have refused to implement masks in corridors.
Ours don't mix outside the classroom apart from from on the bus. In school the classroom bubbles are kept totally apart throughout the day.
As a member of senior management, the strain is mostly dealing with ill children and those with Covid-19 symptoms. Knowing the difficulties you are creating for a family when you send a child home is tough. It's especially difficult when we advise a parent to get their child covid tested and the nearest test location is Aberdeen airport (we're in Herefordshire!).
At my place, it's up to the kids if they wear masks in school, I reckon only 1 to 2 percent currently are, and staff likewise (as in its your choice. More but not the majority of staff are wearing them moving around). They all have to wear them on buses though.
TBF, I'm not really sure if it could be organised any differently and the kids be back in school.
I’m also in Herefordshire & have also had colleagues told to drive to Aberdeen. However, I drove past the massive testing site alongside the A38 just outside Gloucester on Friday night & it was empty. Utterly ridiculous.
> I’m also in Herefordshire & have also had colleagues told to drive to Aberdeen. However, I drove past the massive testing site alongside the A38 just outside Gloucester on Friday night & it was empty. Utterly ridiculous.
Aberdeen as in Scotland?!
The system for test booking is unfit for purpose.
Ours absolutely does come from a gin distillery, just half a mile from our school. Subtle hint of juniper.
Yes, one of our parents had this result, the only available testing venue, for a 7 year old. Hereford to Aberdeen. Crazy.
wow, I was kind of thinking I was being stupid assuming it was the Aberdeen in Scotland.
Interestingly I was on a conference call today with all the girls soccer coaches at the main New England prep schools and we were largely just touching base as to how school is going and what we can do to foster some sort of inclusive feel for the sports teams.. Some of our schools are random sampling the school population.
It just seems the way we should be doing it. Just random sampling from school populations.
Unless the government sort testing soon schools will be shutting left, right and centre. We have a teacher off as their daughter has a high temp. but not tests are available so it is a swab in the post and wait 5 or 6 days.
That's just horrific, here its pretty much within the same day or next day and tests are easily available in our state (MA).
I get the theory, I just don’t see how it can work in a secondary with pupils having made subject choices where they are all in a multitude of groups. Most importantly though, we want our teachers to have their safe space as far as possible. Moving adds greater risk as there is more cleaning to do and staff are in more corridors avoiding kids. Our staff like having their own space that they can control and maintain rather than moving room to room with more contact points.
> Unless the government sort testing soon schools will be shutting left, right and centre. We have a teacher off as their daughter has a high temp. but not tests are available so it is a swab in the post and wait 5 or 6 days.
Schools are already running into problems and heads warning of staff shortages as staff are having to stay home due to symptoms from someone in the household. Tests have suddenly become as rare as rocking horse poo which is just lengthing the amount of time bubbles are in schools with potentially ill people within them.
Heads are being asked to make impossible choices without the resources or advice to do so.
Another factor is the number of colds going round schools at the moment, children who have been effectively isolated for months are meeting with their peers and swapping germs again, it always happens in September, but seems to be happening harder and faster this year. We are asking heads, teachers and parents to make a medical judgement on whether something is a cold or Coronavirus without any access to testing. A few weeks ago the government announced all schools would be sent tests, they have failed to materialise and it is now impossible to get a test anywhere else.
Part of me wonders if this sudden shortage of tests is a result of the government or health authorities withholding tests in anticipation of a second spike requiring quick keyworker access to testing without public testing clogging up the system.
This is absolutely the case. We have been sent some test kits but the delay from taking the swab to getting the result is nearly a week. That's a big deal if youu are keeping children/staff off school and worrying about whether, if tested positive, they have infected others.
The fear is palpable. You can taste it in the air. It permeates every interaction. Consumes every full stop, capital letter and correctly underlined LO. Everyone knows it's coming. No one knows what to do. They carry on as normal. I carry on as normal. The Hand San train is not salvation, but, what is?
And they've taken the biscuit tin out of the staffroom.
> We have been sent some test kits but the delay from taking the swab to getting the result is nearly a week.
I recently started doing the daily downloads from the government website needed to track this - the plot below shows the date on which a sample was taken and the date on which the result was reported; it seems reasonable that the reporting data is similar for their dashboard display and for the individual tested. It's currently taking up to 8 days to report test results, and in the last two weeks the "buffer" of samples which have been taken on or before but not reported by a given day has grown by over 8,000 positive results.
In a few days I'll have enough data to do a meaningful analysis of the average and extremal times required to return samples taken on a given day.
A recent delay in processing samples that have been taken is harder to view as kindly as difficulty in scaling up the number of samples taken. Taken with some of the leaks and other anecdotal reports it suggests that the logistic machine behind the scenes is starting to have serious issues. It looks like today's update included results for samples taken 11 days ago...
Wow, that's a low blow..
We've brought in a new rule that seniors can no longer leave and come back for sport after school. So to play soccer they have to sit in a study hall class for 2-3 hours if they have no class in the afternoon. Which in the US is common for seniors as many just need a few classes to graduate.
We had a very liberal model, almost like a uni campus where students were free to walk the campus in free blocks, they could just find quiet areas to work or even just go and play some basketball or use the school gym. That's been removed because of covid. I understand not letting them congregate in school but not keeping them in study halls.
It just doesn't make sense, let them go, less people in the school is less risk. They are 17-18 years old and can leave anyway, its just they cant come back for sports. And they come back to school the next day anyway. It's these arbitrary rules I struggle with.
3 of my senior girls have quit soccer over it. They want to leave school and work an afternoon shift or workout and not sit in a study hall.
I'm applying for jobs at the moment and hoping I don't get them. It's an odd feeling.
I'm sorry to hear that. I wish you luck in your quest for failure.
Seems like a really weird management decision.
John Gill is widely considered to be the father of modern bouldering and responsible for the introduction of dynamic movement to the sport of climbing. Whilst his peers were looking to the big walls of Yosemite and Patagonia, Gill began to look to small, difficult...