New normal 2020
If I had a step count…
The ‘new normal’ is largely more challenging. That is not to say there are no advantages, there are. Here are just a few of the adjustments I have read or heard teachers report to the media and those I am experiencing as a teacher and what the students are telling me as their teacher.
Senior teams have been phenomenal. School scheduling, already a significant under-taking, has become a gargantuan under-taking. Teacher timetables are more complex, lesson and breaks are shorten, trimmed by travel time, slowed by carry load and / or one-way directions.
Students are in situ when I arrive. Seating plans are proscriptive (the verbal warning backed by a “move seats” no longer available as a behaviour strategy (track and trace). Voice elevated – projected through the face shield, over the background noise of open door classrooms. Permitted toilet breaks during lessons frequently disrupt the flow of lesson, names recorded on the track and trace sheet. Interactions with students managed and minimised. Support for learners not in school – almost expected. Social exchanges with colleagues has been fleeting and passing or via WhatsApp. Formal meetings largely remote. Lessons are blended. Contact with electronic. Students are largely pleased to be back in school but it is not the same.
The upside: The students have been largely understanding and adaptable. The response, “In response to COVID…” or the ‘New normal’ – is largely accepted by students. There is an additional strain within and on the system. System leaders – beyond Headteachers and Executive Headteacher, I do hope you are being keep informed.
Teachers – pacing oneself is going to be key. To pace oneself, there is little to replace experience. It is for that reason, that and the reduced social and supportive interactions, that I am genuinely worried for teachers joining the profession or early in their careers. This term, more than any other term ever, look out for another.