Last week was induction week for the 2020-2021 school year, and as with everything for everyone right now, it was different. Social distancing, masks, new ways of working.
But it wasn’t anywhere near as different as I thought it would be.
It was so lovely to hear the buzz of lots of people working in the school building again, for the first time since mid-March.
I forgot how much I enjoy writing on a whiteboard – that was a very satisfying feeling!
The meetings I ran involved me moving around to find a position where I could see everyone now they’re all arranged in rows, and I ended up standing up or perching with one knee on my chair (can’t work out how to describe it!) I also had to project my voice a little more to make up for the masks. But they felt pretty normal in terms of how much I felt like I was lecturing people and never like that feeling!
The one session I ran on the job description, IH promises and our expectations of teachers at the school allowed me to experiment with techniques for the socially-distanced classroom for the first time. And it was actually OK. There was lots of pair work and group work, people worked with various others, no paper was handed out, and (I hope!) everyone got what they needed to out of the session. I had an information gap task where teachers took photos of different PowerPoint slides, then kept their eyes closed when the other slides were shown, after which they compared the information on their photos. Another task involved a pyramid discussion followed by comparing answers to the job description I emailed them during the session. I had to be a little more creative when planning the session to avoid paper and consider groupings, but other than that it felt like running sessions in the classroom pre-COVID. I also used AnswerGarden in a classroom lesson for the first time.
I’m feeling pretty hopeful now, and excited about getting back into the classroom with students – that’s about 10 days away for me, fingers crossed. Numbers are going up here, but hopefully we’ll still be able to work in classrooms for a little while yet.
How about you? Are you back in the classroom? What does your updated classroom look like? If you’re online, what’s the same and what’s different about how you’re working now?
Good luck everyone, and stay safe!