Returning to face to face teaching: A Day in the life
Linsey King, Course Director for Dietetics, talks about returning to face-to-face teaching. She outlines the different stages of her first day.
06.30 – I was woken up to the question from my youngest child “Mummy can I go downstairs please?”, “Yes, of course you can”, I replied “Mummy will be there in 2 minutes”. I wasn’t there in 2 minutes it was more like 10 as it seems to take me longer to get out of bed nowadays.
06.45 – made my way downstairs for the first cup of coffee of the day to be greeted by the requests from all 3 children for which breakfast cereal they would like that morning. Whilst boiling the water for the coffee and arranging the bowls of cereal (Shreddies and Weetabix with some granola, a different mixture of all 3 for each individual child) I checked the calendar for the days events, as I do every morning, and realised that today was the first face to face induction session that I have scheduled for the MSc Dietetic students. I was actually going to go back into the building, back to work and see actual real live people that were not my direct family…..and I was going to have to really make an effort with my appearance, (something I have become less bothered about when working from home).
07.00 – breakfast completed and first coffee drunk, I swiftly made another and rallied the troops upstairs to get washed and dressed whilst trying to work out what I was going to wear and if anything would actually fit me, it is amazing how much you can eat when you are working in your kitchen at home at your makeshift desk.
07.30 – All 3 children dressed and ready for school, bags packed with lunch and drinks, I suddenly realised I would also need a packed lunch and drinks as we had been told that we were only accessing our rooms and so thought a flask of coffee and some sort of lunch was required.
07.45 - I packed my own bag and happily waved goodbye to my eldest child who went to get the school bus and spent the next 30 minutes dealing with the other 2 and their homework, reading books etc.
08.00 - The children were ready so I logged on to check all was well and that we had not received a message that the sessions were not going ahead. We had scheduled 3 sessions on a bookable event only so that those students who wished too and were able could attend. We reminded them to bring their face masks (thinking I mustn’t forget mine) and ensured it would be recorded should students not be able to attend.
08.25 - We all piled into the car so that I could take the children to school returning to the house twice because I had forgotten things I needed for the day that I hadn’t used in a while, my staff badge being one thing.
08.45 - Children delivered safely to school I was back in the car and desperately trying to remember to drive to work and not back home as I had been doing for the last 5 months. The roads were quiet still and I managed to get into the car park at city campus by 9am something I had not been able to do for years. Car locked and mask on I headed out of the car park to seek the room I had been allocated and the students waiting to greet me.
09.05 - Walking through the Leslie Silver entrance there were ambassadors with masks directing people and assisting and a hand washing facility as well as alcohol gel as soon as you entered the building. Signage was clearly shown on the floor and I duly followed where I was supposed to go and directed to the stairs that I could ascend as only one set of stairs was for walking up (Calverley) and the other for walking down (Portland). It seemed surreal that the building was so empty but everyone I came across smiled (through their masks) and asked if they could help and I found the room we were in for the day.
09.15 - I had arrived, greeted by my lovely colleague Adam I ventured to the front of the room to say hello and almost forgot myself nearly coming within 2 meters of him. He very astutely moved to the other side of the room as I stopped and collected myself. I think it was just seeing another person there and back in the comfortable and friendly environment that I was so used to it threw me back to a time before COVID. He also had bought me a coffee which was very welcome in deed as despite my 2 return trips to the house I had forgotten the additional drinks I had made.
09.30 - All of the students who had booked onto the first session were in their seats wearing their masks and looking keen to get started. I was stood at the computer and Adam at the other side of the room and I surveyed that group of 12 students and smiled to myself, this is a weird situation for everyone, but I really wanted to make it as normal as possible. I had to read the register out and jokingly said to the students “you can answer with yes miss, if you would like” which was received with a few giggles and the first name I read out responding with “yes miss” this made us all laugh and so the session began.
16.45 - I delivered 3 sessions in total throughout the day, almost back to back as the 30 minutes in between that was required was spent cleaning the area and desks that the students had been in in preparation for the next group. I was exhausted and by 5.15 ready to go home. But overall I felt ‘normal’ I had done the job I was supposed to do, speaking in front of a group of students welcoming them to the university.
I feel I made the right decision to have the students come in for an induction session as I feel that the students got a lot out of it and we were able to answer their queries. We could put faces and people to names we had on our list and they could get a sense of us overall as a team. The eeriness of the building and the one way system were interesting, especially when you need a comfort break and you have to follow the one way system, but this was a small inconvenience to ensure that everyone was protected as best as they could.
I have some more induction sessions to come with the undergraduate cohort and I am looking forward to them I know the setup of the buildings and the expectations of everyone and feel confident that I will remember the additional drinks this time.
Linsey King is a registered Dietitian and Principal Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics. Linsey has worked at the University for 17 years within the dietetic group in various roles and is currently undertaking her PhD part time within clinical practice.