A day in the “lockdown” life of Kirsty Ralston 28 Jan 2021

My school day looks very different to normal, with many different challenges to those I am used to, but my job remains an incredibly rewarding one. I must admit to looking forward to getting back into the classroom, when it is safe to do so, and being reunited with my classes.

Today I started at my desk at around 8 o’clock, ready to answer emails and prepare for the day ahead.

I had a preparation period first and used this time to catch up with pupils who have sent me work yesterday evening, reading through pieces of home learning on Mansa Musa and Nazi Germany, sending feedback to each of them and logging on my tracker. Next up was year 10, guiding them through their end of unit essay about modern medicine and particularly the impact of the NHS. Classes in year 8,7 and 11 would follow, covering causes of the French Revolution, the Mali Empire and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan respectively. A 40 minute live lesson for each of the four classes in which I get the opportunity to help the boys investigate these other times and places, asking and answering questions, supporting them through their topics.

During these lessons I use the time they are working on tasks to go into their live documents and help them improve their answers with voice recordings and written feedback.

Having this opportunity to catch up with them, hear their jokes and see them progress is always the best part of the day, even if it is remote. On my lunch break I grabbed a drink and sandwich and read through the story of Drake’s circumnavigation, refreshing my memory ahead of tomorrow’s year 9 lesson. Between my lessons I squeezed in setting some additional tasks to the classroom for the pupils to work on independently over the next week.

After my live lessons finished at 2.40, it was time to tackle my to do list!

Firstly, I began my preparation for the following day, as I do at the end of each day. I adapt today’s lesson on the French Revolution to suit a lower set tomorrow, adding additional models and frames for their ideas. I then began prepping for my new module with Year 10 on the Western Front, sending out unit overviews to my team and ensuring there are resources on our system that can be used too! Finally, I checked through my year 9 lesson for period 5. Each of these lesson resources are then worked into a booklet that can be uploaded for all pupils to support their work tomorrow. Now to deal with the online classroom, lesson times and links scheduled, booklets posted for the day ahead. On the list today is also giving feedback for Year 7.

I work my way through their lessons, leaving written and also recorded feedback on their answers and notes, logging it all on my spreadsheets as I go.

I had 5 pupils to award positive points to on the system, for excellent effort. One more booklet to be made on Weimar Germany for an outstanding pupil in year 10, who is working on a different module to his class. I was really pleased to see his efforts paying off as he achieved 16/16 on a difficult essay question, a congratulations email sent alongside his new topic booklet and I am almost done for the day. A few more queries from my year 11s about which modules they wish to be entered for in summer and I am done for the day at around 6.30.

The days working from home are a whirlwind and definitely not what I expected when I became a teacher. However, the rewards remain the same, the 16/16 answer, the improved contributions in the lesson, a cuddly toy panda left on a chair to make me laugh and the thank yous at the end of the lesson are what keep me motivated and thankful for my job.