In this series of blogs, colleagues from across the school will share their experiences of teaching remotely. I’ve asked them to consider the challenges they have faced and to reflect on some of the strategies they have used. The idea is to share some good ideas and provide some reassurance by recognising common struggles. Today I’ll share contributions from teachers in History, and Maths.
Paul Mawdesley – History
I can’t say that I have enjoyed remote teaching – there is something about looking into pupils’ eyes as you teach in order to discern how they far they are understanding the work that you are going through. Nonetheless I have managed to put aside my Luddite tendencies and have found some things really interesting and I’ve been pleased with work produced by some pupils and the extra lengths they have gone to to enhance their learning.
In Frog learning I (when possible) try to respond quickly to the work that they have done. The feedback button at the end has been good because I can really quickly gauge how they are finding the work – it’s really lovely when they tell you how much they’ve enjoyed it. I am using FROG markbooks to keep a note of work that’s been done – when work has a numerical value then it keeps a running average which is useful to see how pupils are getting on.
I have used Zoom, probably less than some people but am gradually getting accustomed to this technology. I have found the training very helpful here (along with young adult children) – the stopping of them chatting without me knowing has been good. I now build in stop points into lessons when I ask them to message quick answers to questions set (lots of right answers) – the challenge here is to get the quieter ones to contribute – that is coming slowly. My lessons tend to be recaps with questions, an activity to help them move forward based on the context they already know and then giving them work to get on with. I try to chase up as much as possible with those who are in danger of falling behind.
I am glad that this is only a temporary measure but can see some of the potential with things I have developed here which I will be able to continue to use when I am back in a classroom.
Sophie Fullbrook – Maths
I have found teaching remotely very up and down to be honest. Some days I feel very overwhelmed with the task of setting appropriate tasks to meet the needs of all pupils in my class; giving them detailed and informative feedback while recognising amazing effort seen by some individuals; following up with students who have not engaged with the work and the worry for the student’s progress and well-being that goes with this. Whereas on other days I feel like I have it somewhat in hand and I am able to juggle being the best remote part time teacher I can be while raising a young child at home at the same time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn how to provide feedback remotely in different forms appropriate for different tasks set. Something that has worked really well for me has been doing screen recordings on my iPad where I work through the questions myself (like I would do in the classroom) sometimes with my audio description and sometimes without.
A challenge I have found is maintaining a healthy work-life balance within remote teaching and I still don’t feel like I have adapted just yet – it could be ironic that I adapt nicely when it is time for us to return to work. I have always put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best that I can be to support my students while trying to be the best mum I can be for my little one at home, and this applies for when in school physically or not. Maintaining both of these things have proven very difficult and one I continue to ask advice from others on to achieve some sort of balance.