In the current, unprecedented situation with COVID-19 a lot of attention is rightly being given to key workers who are keeping people safe and the most important aspects of the country running. Nurses, doctors, carers and all manner of other professions are putting themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of the rest of us. Among these are many students.

Teachers are also still very much on the front line. In their multifaceted role not only as educators, but also carers, givers of support and even entertainers, they have kept education settings open for the children of those who have no choice but to work. On top of that, they are providing e-learning on an unprecedented scale, using their innovation and imagination to deliver ongoing education, despite the challenges. Others have even used their education environment to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by producing PPE.

Our student teachers and alumni are among this army of people who have almost flown under the radar of praise. Here, a few of our students from the Physical Education and Physical Activity course, as well as a Primary Education alumni, tell their stories of working during lockdown!

Current student teachers

Megan Belt – Foundation Degree, Physical Education and Physical Activity: “My school is still open to key worker children and we have been open this week. Yesterday I was in making Physical Education videos for the children who are at home on Google Classroom, they can then send videos back of their techniques and we can mark them.

Megan Belt

Whereas at school we had eight children in, where we delivered the PE lesson that was on Google Classroom in person to the children at the school and also set challenges for them!

We have been making tutorial videos using various sports, such as cricket. However, we didn’t want to give all our tricks away before the Easter holidays as we still need some ideas for the summer term! But the videos involve progression and we are trying to make them really fun.”

Anthony Lloyd – Foundation Degree, Physical Education and Physical Activity: “We have been running an Easter holiday school to take the pressure off parents during this time. The children did lots of arts and crafts activities where they were required to bring in their own pencil cases; we did the Joe Wicks fitness classes and also did lots of outside play. As it was the holidays, we did let the kids enjoy movies and TV shows…

Anthony Lloyd

To celebrate Easter, we also did an Easter egg hunt with pictures of eggs dotted around the playground with the member of staff with a clipboard ticking them off when the pupils found them! This enabled us to allow the children to do this activity but safely.”

Matthew Wilson – Foundation Degree, Physical Education and Physical Activity: “The Tonbridge School Centre has been converted into a Coronavirus Assessment Centre which is functioning solely off volunteers from the school and local GPs. I have been volunteering along with a number of my colleagues as we all try our best to play a part in combating this devastating virus.

Matthew Wilson

For the past couple of weeks myself and around 10 others have been working tirelessly in the school’s Science and Design Departments to produce PPE (head/face visors) for local hospitals, care homes and GPs. I can, with much joy, say that we have managed to produce and deliver 3,000 visors in the last two weeks and will be continuing production this week.

This effort was orchestrated by our fantastic senior management team and heads of the relevant departments involved at Tonbridge. So I must give credit to them and all the other volunteers involved.

Amazingly, we have also had students and their families volunteering in the recent weeks as well increasing the number of volunteers to 30+ individuals. A real sense of school community spirit has been displayed and its so reassuring to see in times like these.”

Faculty of Education Alumni

Megan Snipp – Primary Education alumni: “I graduated from Canterbury Christ church in 2018 with a BA (Hons) in Primary Education. I have to say that in a career like teaching every day is different, but this has got to be the strangest experience so far. Taking the classroom digitally was not something I was expecting when I came into the profession. It has made me appreciate what I do and how vital teachers are to the work force.

Like myself and many others, we are continuing to put ourselves at risk and heading into schools to care for the children who’s parents are out on the front line fighting this virus. Being a teacher has to be one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs anyone can have the pleasure of doing! This year has thrown up so many different challenges and it really makes me appreciate the work that parents also do at home to ensure their children make progress in their education.

Megan Snipp

Myself and my colleagues have been digitally uploading accessible work to our school website as well as personally delivering hard copies of activities to keep the kiddies entertained over these unusual times. As a Reception teacher it’s hard not being able to give all 29 of your little ones the answers to the uncertain times that they crave. As stressful as this job can be at times, I miss my class so much and it is heartbreaking not seeing all of their faces everyday hearing of the adventures that they got up to over the weekend. For now it is important to stay positive for our children, not all their home lives are the same and their exposure to home learning will be varied so I ensure that I keep in contact with parents at all times, continue to update tapestry and I have set up a Facebook page where I read the kids their favourite stories, the comments from parents are so heartwarming it makes all this time apart seem worth while.

Soon we will be reunited with our classes and eventually things will get back to a very different ‘normal’. The education system will be changed whether that be for better or for worse, but what I do know is, I have made the right choice in career and will be forever grateful to Canterbury Christ church for preparing me for the best adventure that is a primary school teacher.”

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Across the University we are bringing stories of how our students, staff and alumni are helping in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis. As a faculty, we are extremely proud of everything our people are doing, and we feel that if these few examples are anything to go by, the future of teaching is in very safe hands.

You can find out more about our response to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis here.