Not Remotely Interested… #LockdownTeaching

I’m sitting here, freezing my toes off, as well as several other parts of my anatomy, as the UK is in the midst of a cold snap… Seriously, my fingers are like little icicles, as are my toes, and my nose feels like a little icy bump on my face.

Miserable. That’s me!

But no, seriously.

Ritu? Miserable? That’s not normal, is it?

I’m not miserable. A little fed up, maybe. Cold, definitely.

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But as you will all be aware, the UK is now in its strictest lockdown phase again. I live in the South East, where we are now the hotspot for the highest number of cases of Covid-19. In fact in my specific area, I think we have the second highest figure…

That is just scary.

So, shops closed, (apart from essential items stores), restaurants closed, pubs and bars closed, everything closed, even schools.

They always said they would close schools again, only as a last resort. because education and the welfare of the children was paramount.

Correct.

Except, it tool the government a good while to admit that, though schools (the buildings) were safe, and didn’t transmit the virus, it was children who were the ‘vectors’, and though they may either remain asymptomatic, or suffer the virus mildly, they, in turn were spreading it to adults within their families, and also to members of staff.

So, with a heavy heart, they decided that Secondary schools should close for two weeks, and move learning on line, while they trained staff and volunteers to test pupils within the school settings. Then four days before starting, several areas in the country, including mine, were told that Primary schools would also do the same.

There were outcries. Why not the Primary schools in the rest of the country?

But no, BoZo decided that everywhere else was safe. Everywhere else, who had been given the chance to mix households on Christmas day, too… Unlike us, who had our lockdown Christmas and New Year.

On Monday, thousands of pupils went into school. We were in too, but as staff, setting up for our two weeks of home learning.

Then that alert on my phone pinged. I knew, from the sound, it was an update from the BBC, which meant something major had occured.

The BoZo decided, finally, that all schools need to close with immediate effect, and that the whole country was in top tier lockdown until February 15th at the earliest!

And, another almost last minute call… GCSE and A-Level exams are cancelled, too, this year, and being replaced by teacher assessed grades. (Better than the ‘algorithm’ method they used last year which messed up the futures of many youngsters.) This will affect Lil Man. He’s been revising hard this last two weeks, getting ready for the mock exams which he should have been sitting right now. And now, even those are cancelled. Not sure what we think of that, right now…

So now, we are scrambling together to sort out the next six weeks of online learning, phoning parents, ensuring they all have the support they require, marking and responding to the work being handed in constantly, creating rotas, new timetables, researching new ways to engage these children online…

It is not easy.

I’d be the first to tell you that, as a teacher, I hate online learning for my age group.

Be honest, which 3-5 year old can be expected to engage with learning, for up to 3 hours every day without the right people around them to teach them?

It’s a bit easier as they get a bit older. They can (mostly) read and write, and understand basic mathematial concepts. They recognise letters and sounds, so can type work out online.

My class, and others like them? They are still learning all of the above! They still need the teacher to (literally) hold their hand, while they learn how to make letters, then words, how to learn the reason why that number is 1, or 2 and know, with concrete understanding, how those numbers turn into 3, 4, 5…

It’s not easy. And parents aren’t teachers.

Also, parents won’t have the knowledge of what realistic expectations are. Some will crave perfection, whereas we would celebrate that sentence that has imperfections, but shows us that child has progressed from squiggles, to real letters, and quite possibly, even a phonetically correct word…

Meanwhile, at home, Hubby Dearest is balancing his own working from home, with policing two teens (well, one teen and one tween, soon to enter teenaagerdom) who work well when they have to, but then errupt into loud arguments when they cross paths with each other.

Truth be told, anxiety is through the roof.

I know I have to be in and out of school, with minimal contact with others, but we still have the children of key workers in, as well as those from vulnerable backgrounds. And I still have to do the shopping, so going out to the supermarkets, as well.

Then I come home, and have to clean up, before making sure no blood was shed by the squabbling siblings, soothe the fraying nerves of the father who has even had to cancel client calls, to deal with the ridiculous disagreements of the te-weens, and make sure all are fed and watered…

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Wish me luck, Peeps. I already guessed that the two week home schooling plan would be extended, and I’m worrried now, that if the plan to vaccinate a certain number of people in the next six weeks, doesn’t give the downturn in figures that all hope for, we might be in this for even longer…

Stay safe, all you wonderful people!

84 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stemforkidsfuture
    Feb 08, 2021 @ 19:05:30

    I have 4 year old in reception, and to say we are struggling to juggle homeschooling and work is an understatement. He’s a summer baby, so he was already struggling before the school closed, so after a few days of trying to get through the school work, and having constant meltdowns, I change my approach. He really likes making things and like technology so we have been making robots and rockets, and I incorporate writing and reading to the activities he enjoys doing. We have done a lot of science experiments and crafts, and everyone is happier. He is learning a lot, probably not the same and at the same pace as his peers, but he’s developing a lot of interest for science and technology. I feel bad for our teachers, they put so much effort into the work they send for us to do, but with the current situation I think parents need to do whatever it takes to just get through this.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 20:21:50

      I feel for you, so much.
      This is why we have tried to create a home learning programme for the EYFS that is not entirely screen led, or tied to a specific time. All our activities may have short video links to watch, but they can be watched when it is suitable for the family. Also we have created suggestions of activities and work that can be done with the children away from pen and paper, as well as those activities that need doing.
      We are there to support our families, because this is such an unreal situation.
      But I am glad you have found a way that suits you and your son. I have a few children in my class who have different learning needs, or learn in different ways, and we have guided our parents, to watch the videos and get an idea of what we are teaching, so they can try and present it in a way that is their child-friendly, with suggestions from us, as to what they could do.
      And you are absolutely right. We all need to do whatever it takes, just to get through xxx

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

  2. homelesssocks
    Jan 16, 2021 @ 03:28:40

    (((Hugs))) in U.S. but virtual learning is horribly hard. My 12 almost 13 year old with special needs struggled badly at school but I think the separation anxiety would be horrible to head back. (She’s been home since March 12, 2020). Thinking of you and all the students and parents. Stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  3. Chido Madziko
    Jan 13, 2021 @ 10:42:25

    The struggle is real. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Traci York
    Jan 11, 2021 @ 22:12:36

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Kneashashayvai
    Jan 11, 2021 @ 15:19:17

    Stay safe sending hugs from Ohio πŸ’œπŸ’žπŸ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. SpookyMrsGreen
    Jan 11, 2021 @ 13:41:36

    Aww, Ritu, I’m sending lots of love and virtual hugs your way! My girls are 7 and (almost) 10, and today they decided they weren’t doing homeschool. I got about 2 hours of work out of them this morning and now we have given up. We have succumbed to retail therapy online, they are running riot in the house because it is raining and we don’t want to go for a walk, and I decided it wasn’t worth the battle for school work. We will get through this lockdown… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Smelly Socks and Garden Peas
    Jan 10, 2021 @ 22:34:00

    It’s so good to see this post from a teacher. As a parent staring down the barrel of work and home learning, I’m petrified and honesty from a teacher is wonderful. I know our teachers are doing their best to be cheerful and positive and reassuring for the kids and that’s absolutely the right attitude. But I feel a bit less crappy to know they’re probably finding this just as hard as me, they’re just hiding it better.
    Thanks!

    PS go check out my blogging friend Live Parent Teach Repeat as she has a similar post that you might like to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 11, 2021 @ 07:14:02

      Know that we are all in this together. Teachers and parents. I always say this to my parents.
      We are a team. Together, we are working with and for your child.
      Nothing is ever solely on the teacher, or on the parent, especially in the earlier school years.
      As long as we all remember that, we can get our children through this πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  8. adriandjababu
    Jan 10, 2021 @ 00:56:57

    Good luck πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Jennie
    Jan 09, 2021 @ 15:18:49

    Bless you, Ritu. I’m sending you super big virtual hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. thereluctantpoet
    Jan 08, 2021 @ 19:22:20

    Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. thereluctantpoet
    Jan 08, 2021 @ 19:21:55

    I so loved reading this Ritu! Really enjoyed imaging you as described in the cold. Not funny but your descriptive words brought a smile to my face and a wish in my heart that I could send you down gloves and lava socks for your and yours!

    Great Post. I do worry about you guys in this intensified state in the UK. Yeah, you guys are still going to have your Bozo. We are getting rid of ours on the 20th. Can you believe that our Moron Incited rioting? And he will get away with it, Sadly! Happy to hear you are protecting yourself!
    xoxox πŸ˜˜πŸ’•πŸŒΉπŸŽπŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 08, 2021 @ 19:30:30

      I’ve been watching the news. It is awful! What is the matter with the man???
      I’m still cold. We had a flurry of snow today, too!
      School is a strange place… And its going to get a whole lot stranger, I’m sure. Trying to stay safe. 🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • thereluctantpoet
        Jan 08, 2021 @ 22:03:13

        Please keep you and yours safe and warm from Covid and the cold! I so worry about you teaching and being exposed to all those kids!! Yikes! Maybe you should break out the sleeping bag and comforters???

        Americans elected a Crazy Moron 4 years ago and we have reaped the Whirlwind but it’s over in 13 days. Sorry you guys have your own Bozo! It is so sad that a Capitol Police Officer died – 42. They are going to hunt down all those fools and terrorists that invaded America’s Capitol and I will be cheering!
        Be Safe, Dear Ritu! Always love to see you in my email alerts!
        xoxox πŸ˜˜πŸ’•πŸ˜ŠπŸŒΉπŸŒΉ

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 08, 2021 @ 23:26:13

        You stay safe, too, Chuck! Our BoZo is here for a while… Goodness knows what else will happen while he is at the helm 😱

        Like

  12. Deepa
    Jan 08, 2021 @ 17:06:27

    Sending you hugs Ritu… It is sad, but we have to live through it for as long as we have to.
    But then it HAS to end. Am sure it cannot go on for the rest of our lives. πŸ™‚ So, one day we will all blog about the old Covid days. Can’t wait to use verbs in past tense for everything Covid related.
    Stay Safe Ritu…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. chapter18
    Jan 08, 2021 @ 07:34:30

    Schools are planning to reopen in India… but many are apprehensive..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. Annette Rochelle Aben
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 16:03:14

    sending hugs and lots of pillows (so you have something to scream or cry into if need be) ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Erika
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 15:57:36

    Kindergarten over here starts with 5 year-olds. So, I can only imagine what a challenge it is for you to teach these little ones via the internet.
    But on the other hand, my 18-year-old has to travel through half of Switzerland to go to commercial school using packed overcrowded trains, twice a week. Homeschooling worked, it was proved last Spring. But Switzerland is not able to let close those schools and switch to online-schooling which was no problem at that age. But the risk to spread the virus is much higher.
    Sending you lots of love, sis. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. Rae Longest
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 15:02:25

    Oh Hon,
    My heart goes out to you! I complain about teaching juniors and seniors at my university on line, but YOURS???
    I can’t imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. johnrieber
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:59:38

    Ritu, I live in Los Angeles, one of the most impacted areas int he world right now…all we can do is follow the rules and soldier on – and hope that this latest lockdown works…unfortunately, we have far too many people here who reject the science and are causing future spread…sad…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. CarolCooks2
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 13:15:53

    Hugs all round…I know safety is a priority but juggling work with homeschooling and all the chores must be a nightmare lets hope these vaccines work, people observe the curfews and quarantines and it gets under control or else I fear for everyone’s sanity and health …Big Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:52:28

      Here’s hoping, Carol. I was looking out of my classroom today, and there wasn’t much footfall so that was a good thing. I hope people keep up…
      Take care, and big hugs to you, too ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  19. Stevie Turner
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 12:55:23

    Good luck with it all, Ritu. I sympathise in that it must be hard to home-school children. My once hyperactive son is now 38 and has to supervise his own kids’ homework, but remembering how he was back in the 1990s I’m not sure he would have learned anything from me!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:51:33

      It is really hard, Stevie, not just for us as the educators, but for the parents too…
      I am glad mine are a little older, but still, then need pushing!

      Like

      Reply

  20. Sue Dreamwalker
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 11:02:55

    Sending you a virtual hug Ritu, so much education had been stolen from children this last year and looking the same for this. My Great niece last year missed out on University because of the system of grades given. So much study and hard work students put in.
    My neighbours son in year eleven was so distraught school was closed.
    I don’t think any think about the Knock on impact all affecting stress and phycological health of teachers, students, parents or those workers losing their jobs.
    My own family in similar situations,
    So sending hugs.
    And well wishes for 2021πŸ’

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. Chris The Story Reading Ape
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 10:52:12

    If they want to keep schools open, they should give the jabs to teachers, their assistants, canteen personnel and cleaners as a priority, along with ALL NHS personnel & GPs, all of who are in the frontline of combatting COVID 🦍

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  22. Books & Bonsai
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 10:28:15

    Virtual hugs are not a patch on the real thing, unfortunately…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. robbiesinspiration
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 09:38:47

    I am sorry to read this, Ritu, and I agree that 3 to 5 year olds cannot be effectively taught on-line. Actually, its pretty tough from most age groups of kids except for the very disciplined and dedicated learners who are few and far between. Our school year start has been pushed out one week for Greg [going into his final school year] and 10 days for Michael. I am besides myself and would have preferred on-line to nothing. I have had to engage a private teacher to assist Michael with maths at home this year and may have to do the same for science. SIGH!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:45:34

      Robbie, it is so tough, I know. Every angle of this whole virus, and lockdown is tough. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, from the decision makers to the ones who have to follow rules, the teachers and school staff to the parents, the medical staff to the patients… no one has it easy, right now…
      We just have to try our hardest to cope.
      Take care ❀

      Like

      Reply

  24. willowdot21
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 08:53:40

    I am sending you the biggest hugs I can muster Sis. The situation is spiralling out of control. As ever Boris and co have done too little too late. As ever it’s appears like panicked reactions. The situation is so bad, like you l live in a hotspot area. Why do I still see people wondering about outside? Why are coffee shops open “for takeaway” no one should be out.
    It’s so difficult for children of all ages, my youngest and his wife are both working from home and have a 6 year-old and a 3year-old to school….it’s mad. Many have it worse but it is what it is perhaps a good side effect of all this horror maybe parents growing closer to their children….the alternative is too awful to contemplate.
    The new variant is affecting younger, healthy people now as well as older and vulnerable people, everything is ramping up.
    So my dear Sis we know you are having in hard on every front so sending you love and support. I am here as always. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  25. niasunset
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 08:30:13

    Dear Ritu, fisrt of all I want to send a BIG HUG to you. I can almost undeerstand you and feel too. These days are not easy… even just being a parent isn’t not easy and you are both, mother and teacher! Good Luck dearest. But do you know, this is a living laboratory, I mean almost the whole world. With this coronavirus, everything shows itself in another problems… And all countries are struggling in many fields… Decisions, and what to do lists,..etc. there is not any model that we can apply… Everything has been experienced at first time and also by living… I keep following in your country too… Not easy days… also I heard the vaccine decision too, they stopped the second period vaccine and they are doing to more people first one, for getting time… I hope and wish and pray this decision works… Dear Ritu, please be careful and wash your hand with disinfectant especially when you are outside… and if possible use twice masks… Stay in safe… I can only send my love and hugs, and my heart with you, Love, nia

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:42:36

      Thank you, Nia. We are trying our hardest to stay as safe as we can, here, so thank you for your words. It has been tough, but we will get there.
      You’re right about living in a living laboratory!
      Huge hugs ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  26. MarinaSofia
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 08:08:23

    It has been so crazy and scary and my heart goes out to teachers, headteachers and other school staff. It’s really not easy. Both my boys were supposed to have exams this year and am not entirely sure if the cancellations are good or bad for them. One tends to perform better than teachers predict, the other had very high ambitions. Stay safe and well, Ritu, sending you lots of virtual hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  27. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:53:34

    I so feel fo you Ritu, that sounds so stressful on every front. The poor teachers, and parents what a time are having. I’m worried about my youngest daughter who has always been anxiety prone. I know she is struggling – separated from her boyfriend, studying online. And working from home and a this uncertainty is so soul destroying. Humans need to socialise, even if it’s just with their annoying boss! Take good care and a hug from me to you and your family. Xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  28. Sue Vincent
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 06:51:28

    ‘Liking’ this seems wrong…and ‘needing a hug’ is something we can all relate to. ere, ina ridiculous move, my six year old granddaughter is now homeschooling while her three year old sister is still in nursery school…at the same school…

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:09:29

      I’m applauding Brighton council this morning, who have taken the decision into their own hands, and ordered nurseries to shut apart from to kw children or vulnerable students.
      It truly is ridiculous. I think up to age 7 it is really hard for children to settle and learn from home… But I pray this works so we can get back to normal asap xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Sue Vincent
        Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:13:55

        I think that is a much better idea, but you do need dedicated and informed parents, with the time available, to get small children interested in activities that will help them learn…and encourage a love of learning.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ritu
        Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:41:52

        Precisely my thoughts… But then the safety of the population is important too.
        This is where I’m torn.
        I want these children in, but I know that is the physical risk…
        All we can do is keep in contact with the children and their parents, and give advice and encouragement.
        I’m.leaving voice notes with all the work.our children are doing so they have the personal touch, too, but it’s not the same as being with them, guiding them… 😞

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Vincent
        Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:56:59

        I just hope that this lockdown has the desired effect on stopping the spread, otherwise the cost will be too high.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:39:37

        I hope so, topo, Sue. I am speaking to so many families who are struggling, right now…

        Like

      • Sue Vincent
        Jan 07, 2021 @ 14:51:45

        I can imagine…

        Liked by 1 person

  29. davidprosser
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 06:10:49

    My daughter’s face at the latest announcement of home learning was a picture. With two 7-year-olds and a just 5 years old, it was never going to be easy. But then the youngest gave Elfunt for the elephant she saw and it renewed her hope,
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2021 @ 07:10:50

      In one way, it us good, because parents are being given the opportunity to see how their child is developing, but oh, it is so hard for them too…
      Hugs right back at you πŸ€—

      Like

      Reply

  30. Miriam
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 05:42:31

    Good luck Ritu.. It’s not easy but we got through it and you will too. Sending hugs πŸ™

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  31. foodzesty
    Jan 07, 2021 @ 05:13:27

    Ohhh my Ritu….I know it is difficult but hang in there!!! I am also so fed up with the contant lockdowns…:( Upwards and Onwards my friend

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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