For some, the COVID-19 pandemic was a life changing experience. When businesses had to cease trading and schools shut their doors, the world hadn’t seen interruption of this scale since World War 2. In this blog series, we’re sitting down with some of those people to discuss their Pandemic Stories. For the fifth and final entry in this series, we’re sitting down with a primary school teacher to discuss their experiences during the Covid-19 Pandemic. With the sensitivity of the topic, our contributor will be kept anonymous.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, I am a wife and mother of 2 grown children and I work in the classroom of a primary school.
I recall the first news reports covering the outbreak in China, blaming contamination from markets, and believed that it would pass quickly, that it would be contained. It was very soon after this that I became aware that something much bigger was developing. The tone of the conversations and the news reports quickly became more concerning, and in the days leading up to the Lockdown, many were feeling the dread of what was to come. Including myself.
To be honest, I was relieved. The rate that the virus was spreading and the severity of it’s symptoms was deeply concerning and, working with large groups of children, we believed that both ourselves and the children needed protecting. I welcomed the measures taken and trusted that the government knew what they were doing- I thought the decisions made were a long time coming and now, at last, we could beat the pandemic. However, I never expected it to take so long.
Initially during the full school lockdown, my role changed from working alongside whole classes of pupils and supporting teachers to teach a wide curriculum, to working with a maximum of 10 children 2 or 3 days per week.
We were faced with additional duties of maintaining a safe learning environment, ensuring children distanced, sterilising shared equipment and much more besides. We had to learn new skills to provide virtual learning and providing several live lessons per day. We contacted families to ensure the wellbeing of both them and their children. The pastoral elements of my role became far more important than ever.
The most difficult thing for me at work was the social distancing. Comforting a child or having a meaningful conversation with a parent is much more difficult when wearing a visor and remaining 2 metres apart. I felt less able to fulfil the pastoral side to my role, and had to adapt my practices to ensure I was able to provide effective, meaningful support.
I was grateful to be able to enter the workplace in person, partnered with working online at home. I feel that I was lucky to have this opportunity. I struggled with the restrictions put in place for me socially; being unable to visit family was a struggle, we still have family abroad that we haven’t been able to see yet, which is difficult. In contrast to the difficulties of not seeing family, the situation of having our household confined to the home, without respite, was also harder than anticipated- a great deal of patience was required!
Absolutely! I’m proud of the way our community pulled together- I think we are better for it now.
I’m proud of those I work with, we have supported each other and the children we teach. Teachers worked tirelessly to teach children both face to face and virtually, often simultaneously- The teaching assistants stepping up to it too.
I’m proud of the children we work with, they have been amazing and have been so resilient and have adapted so, so well.
I’m proud of my family for how they have all coped throughout the pandemic.
I’m proud of our NHS, amazing!!!
And finally I’m proud of how much online TV I have managed to watch- it really is astounding 😀
I do get frustrated when I see others not taking the pandemic as seriously as they should- we all need to work together to bring it to an end.
Better! Once some sense of normality returned, a cloud lifted.
I still think we need to take precautions but I’m hopeful that, finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I still don’t want to travel overseas, just yet- I’ll cautiously consider that when I feel more comfortable, but I am confident that I will want to soon.
The vaccination programme has had a lot to do with my increased confidence, I feel grateful for the work done to roll this out.
A massive thank you to all of those that have contributed to this series, and we hope it was an interesting insight in to the world of different types of people and how they coped during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Thank you for reading.