The buzzword which I am often hearing people use to describe these strange times is “unprecedented”. I certainly felt that no word was more fitting than this to describe the start of my day on Wednesday when I was back in school.

As per the new school day schedule, each day kicks off at 9am with ‘PE’ for the few students in school. Normally, this is in the form of Joe Wicks leading his daily live ‘PE with Joe’ sessions, but I had decided to try a new website out which had been recommended by another teacher. Laptop connected to the big TV, the students stood 2 metres apart in the atrium and my lanyard off so that I could fully take part in the session, I was ready for 20 minutes of high energy to kick-start the day. Cue the video freezing and the dreaded ‘buffering’ symbol. Not to be put off, I quickly opened up trusty YouTube for Joe Wicks as a back-up, but of course my laptop was not having any of it. 

Luckily, one of the year 8 girls who loves drama and attention was right on the case and proceeded to lead some of her own high energy exercises for the few that were still interested in taking part. I think her enthusiasm and variety of exercises could earn her her own dedicated YouTube subscribers and she even adapted the workout for my age range with her “If you’re old you don’t need to touch the floor” comment which I tried not to get too offended by. 

With her leading this work out, all that was left for me to do was to try and get the three boys who had decided they did not want to take part, and were sitting on the stairs playing on their Chromebooks or just fully lying down on the step, to join in. After about fifteen minutes of this ‘PE’ and my unsuccessful attempts to get everyone involved, even the caretaker who had been watching my efforts remarked “It’s not worth it, Miss”. 

The week has not been completely without its successes though; lots of students are continuing to work hard remotely and submit some great work. I even had six year 10s join the live quiz which I had to abandon last week; clearly they had felt bad after I’d posted that nobody had joined.

Despite me asking them to use their real names in the quiz rather than a nickname like the website lets you choose, of course there was one comedian who ignored this and instead chose the name “Miss Rona.” But luckily from my knowledge of that class, I managed to figure out who it was, which allowed me a moment of smugness when I posted my congratulations to the top three players, including her real name. My suspicions were confirmed when she immediately commented ““MISS HOW DID U KNOW MISS RONA WAS ME THO”.

Of course, not everyone has been working so hard and although we are not chasing up missing work or giving sanctions, we have been sending some emails out along the lines of “I noticed you haven’t done any work at all yet, so just checking everything is OK?”. I have had some interesting responses to this, my favourite being “I’ll try send sum stuff and do more work yeah but the vibe is off in my house and it’s like my brain cells have gone into isolation too you know?”, followed up a couple of days later by “I was about to do some work FOR REAL I had my book open and free science lesson man up and everything. EVEN my Nicki playlist so I was READY but then I was called to do something for a few hours so I gave up entirely and my motivation was shattered LOL”. At least the good intentions were there.

Now, along with teachers across the country, I am eagerly awaiting this evening’s impending announcement from the government, addressing when schools will start to re-open. Whatever happens, I look forward to another week of these unprecedented times of teaching in the age of Miss Rona. 

2 thoughts on “Teaching in the age of Miss Rona

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