In our new blog series ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ – we’re going to be hearing from a range of people who have different experiences of this global pandemic, and lockdown. Our aim is to give you an opportunity to read, think, and find some encouragement, inspiration or just community in knowing you’re not alone.

This time, we hear from a CCCU graduate who initially studied Mathematics with Secondary Education (BSc) then returned to complete a Masters in Education (MA). Now a Secondary teacher, sharing experience…

“I assure you here and now that it is not possible for schools to shut for any longer than two weeks maximum – and no GCSE’s will not be cancelled.” A quotation by me to my tutor group at the beginning of March. Words that in hindsight I perhaps should not have said with such confidence – with all the 2020 vision in the world I did not see this coming! The last week schools were open was a surreal experience. The school I taught at decided it would be beneficial for us to hold a meeting every morning to ensure updates were communicated, cover lessons were organised and that everyone knew what was going on. Each day the number of staff at that meeting diminished, so much so we had to close the school to many year groups. By Wednesday of that week, the announcement had been made that schools were to shut.

This announcement was a sad one filled with such uncertainty in unprecedented times. For me personally, this was compounded as I was due to leave the school after 5 years of working there. Suddenly my farewells after half a decade were cut short, some goodbyes left unsaid and some may never be said. I hurriedly packed up my classroom, the pot plant, the folders, the copious number of mugs I had gathered over the years – and that was it.

As with the end of many jobs, a new one was due to begin.

Starting a new job in a new school when schools are closed until further notice has proved interesting. As with any new beginning, there are challenges to overcome and there are also benefits to acknowledge. The biggest challenge has been working with a department I do not know, in a school in which I don’t know the systems yet. However, being off has proved beneficial for this as in a busy school day it is hard to find time to sit down and talk to one another. Now there is a lot of time for those conversations to be had- albeit over a video call- and they are proving to be invaluable.

Another great benefit of having all this time in a new role is I have time to think ahead to September. This preparation is usually left until the summer holidays or INSET days at the beginning of the year. It is hopefully a once in a lifetime opportunity to have this time to prepare. It excites me the prospect of having time to think ahead to a curriculum for students upon their return to school where I have had the time to think through the sequence of their learning, design engaging tasks, and ultimately provide students with a better education.

I hope many students look forward to their return to school, I know I look forward to starting my new school again – but in person!

We want to hear your stories! Tell us about your experience of working from home, any interviews or processes you’re going through…

Train To Teach at Canterbury Christ Church University

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