Leeds Beckett graduate shares her story during COVID-19
Leeds Beckett graduate, Molly Nelson shares her story on teaching children of key workers and the challenges she faces during COVID-19.
"I come from a family of teachers and always considered becoming one myself, but it wasn’t until I started volunteering in schools that I knew teaching was what I wanted to do. I loved being in the classroom and helping children with their learning. It helped me to realise that teaching was the right job for me.
I chose to go to Leeds Beckett University because I was really impressed by how much time I would spend on placements throughout the course. I felt that having lots of time working in schools would be beneficial and would help me understand the role of the teacher and different curriculum's. During my job interview for my current job, I was able to talk about working with children of different ages and abilities because I’d had a lot of these experiences while I was on the course.
I am an early-years teacher and have worked in Reception for the last three years. We are currently working with vulnerable children and children of key workers. We have around 10 - 15 children that come in each week and they are split between classrooms where they have to sit two metres apart. We have to clean surfaces down throughout the day and encourage good hygiene as much as possible, then the classrooms are deep cleaned at the end of each day.
Although we do not have to follow a curriculum currently, teachers in our school put work online each day for the children at home to complete so the children in school use the mornings to complete this work. We use the afternoons to do more practical activities such as Art and Design and Technology, but the children still have to remain two metres apart.
The staff work on a three week rota so we may not see each other for a while if you are on a different rota, and we miss the normal social interaction between staff. We have really tried to keep each other motivated, and at the end of each school week we send an email to the following team on the next rota. We try to put lots of well-being tasks online for the children to help with their mental health, including dancing, yoga and family challenges to complete.
As of 1 June, our school plans to reopen, initially with Year 6 and then hopefully a week later we will be opening for Reception classes. We will be splitting children and having them work in a “pod” of up to 15 children with one designated adult, while still keeping the two-metre rule.
The key challenges that we are finding at the moment are the year groups that have been asked to come back. Despite the plans we have put in place for social distancing, we think that the younger children will struggle to understand these rules and we worry about the impact that this may have on their well-being.
I think that despite this being such a challenging time for schools, the staff in my school have been amazing at keeping one another going during this difficult time and it has made us a much stronger team!
Working throughout the past few months with the children of key workers has been a very rewarding experience and one that I’m sure I’ll never forget."