"If you are passionate about teaching then you should not let this situation stop you!
I feel like I have an abundance of people I can turn to if I have a problem."
Holly Lomas Primary SCITT trainee 2020/2021
Today we chat with Holly Lomas about how the Covid Pandemic has impacted her teacher training year with The Sheffield SCITT. Holly has personally and professionally grown as a result of the challenges placed on her as a trainee teacher during this pandemic. She has become resilient and found inner strength, both qualities which will make her a great teacher!
I feel very natural and calm when teaching and am eager to be the best I can be. Overall, my ability to be so resilient has surprised and impressed me - I have definitely developed as a person for the better!
How has Covid-19 affected your training?
Covid-19 has meant I cannot go into other classes in my placements and observe other teachers. Although the recent lockdown has given me the opportunity to be able to watch other teachers pre recorded videos and their methods of teaching over this format. In my TP1 placement I took on more responsibility as my class teacher had to self isolate, and so I have gained some great adaptability and initiative skills which has been valuable to my future practice.
How has your school adapted due to the current restrictions?
My school has adapted to the current lockdown by providing remote learning via Google Classroom. Lessons are filmed as pre-recorded videos on 'loom', children can then watch at a time convenient to them and at a pace that suits their needs. My school has daily morning meets which are about 15-30 minutes long. During these meets, the learning is introduced to them, we share their compelled work from the day before, and they have a chance to share something too. I have done many 'mini activities' during these meets, such as a Safer Internet Day sorting activity.
Teaching staff and trainees juggle between teaching in class and spending time at home to complete home learning.
How has the shift to remote teaching been for you?
I am currently in school 3 days a week, and working 2 days from home. I have found the shift to online teaching manageable but testing at times - the pressure of having parents actively observing your teaching can be challenging as a trainee. Despite this, I feel like I have learnt a lot of useful skills and have been able to dive in and take part as a valuable teacher in my role. When in school, I have more responsibility due to the class teacher's needing to go do their morning meets. I therefore feel more in control of the classroom routines and my authority and teacher persona is positively developing.
Do you feel like your training is being supported throughout this pandemic?
Yes. The training is being adapted constantly to support our needs as a trainee. It is an unpredictable time for everyone so I appreciate the care that is being taken to consider us.
How are you finding the balance between teaching/training and home life?
Teaching and training takes up much of my free time. I am completing work late into the evenings and during weekends - as I expected for my training year. I try to spend time away from working/planning but often feel 'guilty' due to the long list of things I still have to do.
What has been the hardest thing to adjust to? What has helped you overcome this?
The hardest thing has been adjusting to the unpredictability of the upcoming training. Not being able to anticipate what is 'coming next' is a scary prospect for me and has required me to be very resilient and adaptable. Despite this, I feel confident that I am overcoming my worries and developing well as a teacher.
What would a typical day entail for you during the current restrictions?
A typical day in school would run as close to normal as possible - register, phonics, English, lunch, topic. In-between this, I ensure children have a lot of time to 'choose' with continuous provision and not to put too much pressure on children who may be struggling emotionally due to the current lockdown situation. The timings of the day are picked back a little due to children arriving late, so sometimes I struggle to fit all the leaning in to the school day. During working at home, I attend a morning meet and an afternoon story time session live online. In-between, I spend time planning, completing coursework and filming looms.
Do you still feel as enthusiastic about teaching as you did when you started?
Yes, I feel like my role is even more important now than before, as I can see the impact that my looms have on the home learners when they and their parents comment on posts. Alongside this, I also see how much my ability to take lead has helped the class teachers who are juggling many jobs and may need time to step out and complete them without notice. Despite the huge amount of stress and work involved at the moment, I really enjoy my job as a teacher and I have confidence that this will be a lifelong career I will thoroughly enjoy.
What have you learnt about yourself from your training so far?
My resilience, initiative and confidence is a lot greater than I first thought. I feel very natural and calm when teaching and am eager to be the best I can be. Overall, my ability to be so resilient has surprised and impressed me - I have definitely developed as a person for the better!
What would you say to someone that wants to start teacher training but is feeling disheartened due to the current restrictions?
Lockdown is a scary and unpredictable time, but my experience training during this has been very reassuring. I have learnt so much more that what I would have done during a normal training year. Training during the current restrictions will greatly build on your resilience and adaptability, and you will feel like if you can get through this then you can get through anything!
Ensure you choose a course that is able to offer you as much as possible during the current restrictions. You will experience a new way of doing things and see how teaching has adapted and will adapt further in the future. If you are passionate about teaching then you should not let this situation stop you!
How are you finding your current training year with The Sheffield SCITT?
Difficult, but enjoyable. The zoom sessions are very informative and my placement schools have been the perfect fit for me. I feel like I have an abundance of people I can turn to if I have a problem.
Do you have any advice for current and future trainees?
Keep working hard and to will get through it! The training year will fly, and you will develop as a person in ways you couldn't imagine!