Following the Government's announcement to close schools across the UK amid the COVID-19 crisis, we spoke to a Reception Class Teacher in East Kent about her thoughts on the current situtaion, and how staff and young pupils are affected.
How do you feel about the communications received through your school up to now about the ongoing COVID-19 situation?
My school has been really good. My head teacher has sent us daily emails/updates since it was announced that schools were closing. She continues to message us even now schools are shut and I feel that our whole school community are really coming together and supporting each other in this difficult and uncertain time.
How are other staff feeling at the moment, especially teachers you work with?
I think we are all finding it hard. Teaching is not a job which can naturally be done from home and I think the uncertainty of when we will be seeing our children again is hard to come to terms with. However, as a staff team, we are messaging, calling and emailing everyday to keep each other in good spirits but also ensuring that we are keeping in touch with parents to ensure that they have enough to work on at home with their children without feeling too overwhelmed!
How do you think the children are feeling, and coping, with the uncertainty?
I think this is really hard to tell, particularly as I teach 4 and 5 year olds! In the week before our school shut, it was clear that some children had picked up some anxiety and talk of the virus from home. I tried to keep school as normal as I could for them in the last week, but we did have to have discussions about hand washing and keeping ourselves healthy and of course discussing the coronavirus inevitably came up.
I just tried to ensure that I was being as honest as I could be, whilst at the same time reassuring them that they were going to be okay. It was tricky though when children were asking me questions that I couldn’t answer, like when they would be seeing me again but I tried to reassure them that home was the safest place to be for now, but it wouldn’t be like this forever.
What support do you think those working in and around education need in coming weeks and months?
I hope that the support which I have been receiving up until now from my school continues. I am confident that it will. I think the government are doing what they can but that the public need to make sure they are complying with the guidance given.
Do you feel like you have a 'new normal yet?
I think that we just need to take each week at a time. I don’t think that we can plan too far ahead at the moment. As I said before, teaching is not a job that can be done from home, but we are going to have to be flexible going forward to find ways which enable us to continue providing some form of learning for our children to do at home.