Staff at Diamond Wood Community Academy in West Yorkshire share a typical day in lockdown
With so much uncertainty around, it is reassuring to know that teachers are a constant in a child’s life. In the midst of this ongoing health crisis, the teaching profession has worked tirelessly to find creative solutions and new learning environments for students and to ensure that the high level of education of our children can continue as seamlessly as possible.
With very little warning, many teachers were called upon to teach online and move to virtual classrooms, whilst often having to oversee their own children’s lessons. They have shown great innovation, leadership and resilience, not only by ensuring the continuity of education but also by supporting children’s wellbeing in an extremely challenging time.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers in the UK for doing a truly remarkable job.
Here are a few excerpts from ‘A Day in the Life’ of nine members staff at Diamond Wood Community Academy in Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire.
“I do feel we are getting more proactive in this third lockdown. It’s been very interesting.”
Lesley Stead (1) is the school’s Business Manager and says her greatest challenge is dealing with the daily influx of emails as well as ensuring that teachers are up-to-date with any technical changes and data protection laws. She has also had to deal with obtaining all the necessary protective equipment needed in the school and organising the free school meals (“the initial government scheme created a lot of grey hairs”). Other tasks include recording staff absences, Covid incidences, ensuring the wellbeing of staff, taking note of virtual trainings and ensuring that the school building is maintained.
Mrs Robinson (2) teaches Reception and starts her day by checking emails to see if there are any new changes for the day ahead. She then records her videos along with three other teachers who work alongside her. As well as videos, she compiles home learning packs and makes ‘welfare calls’ to parents to see how they are coping and if they need any additional help or resources.
“We are trying our very best to make sure we are doing the best for our children and our community.”
Miss Fox (3) is a Year 2 teacher in a team of four. A typical day includes creating home learning videos and resource packs for every Friday. Miss Fox also organises her year group meeting with her fellow Year 2 teachers on a Friday to prepare the different assignments. She attends meetings for her team, with fellow senior leaders and for her own professional development. She will check the ‘My Work’ emails from students daily, and interact directly with them if needs be.
“It’s a bit crazy but we absolutely love it… We’re making history at the end of the day.”
Assistant Head Teacher Rebecca Price (4) talks about dramatic changes to her role since the start of the pandemic including having to currently shield when she would rather be helping out the Head Teacher at the school. Her roles include keeping in contact with the teachers who are remote teaching, attending and planning meetings, curriculum development and professional development (CPD). As Diamond Wood is an infants’ school, Mrs Price believes that pre-recorded rather than live lessons are working best although they are now starting to do some live zoom sessions as well.
“It’s very very different working from home… It’s nice to be able to know we are still here for the children but I definitely can’t wait to get back into the classroom.”
Mrs Lilly (5) is a part-time co-lead and teacher of Year 1. After checking and replying to her staff and My Work emails in the morning, she films videos for home learning for the week ahead, preparing home learning packs and sending them on to the relevant point of contact at the school. She willl sometimes have a team meeting, plan lessons, have training sessions, share home learning lessons and work out who is creating each video lesson and home learning packs. Mrs Lilly also plans for music classes and carries out welfare calls with parents and children.
Wellbeing officer Mandy Farron (6) explains that she will first meet and greet the school’s more vulnerable children, make any necessary welfare calls, speak to parents and then hold meetings with other professionals and staff to ensure the families are being well-supported. She is also currently caring for some of the vulnerable children in the nursery.
“Times are a little bit different.”
Head Teacher Sally Titherington (6) explains that as it is just key worker children currently in school things are currently a bit less ‘lively’. After meeting key worker children and staff, she will spend the morning in the office and be in touch with the children studying at home (“It’s really good for wellbeing for myself and the children”). She’ll also chat to staff and check any new risk assessment rules.
“Our relationship with parents is very, very different.”
Hannah Tomblin (7) is a part-time Nursery teacher and joint science lead. Not only is she doing lessons from home for her nursery age children but she is also homeschooling her own three children (aged 12, 9 and 7). Not surprisingly she says that there is a lot of juggling to do to ensure everything is done as well as possible but a timetable and a list is always ready at the beginning of the day.
“My role in lockdown has changed so much.”
Lynne (8) is part of the one-to-one support staff at the school. She’s been in school looking after the keyworker children in Nursery to Year 2 whilst the child she normally cares for is shielding. She keeps in contact with the child by making welfare calls to the parents and creating activity packs.