Since the lockdown, I have been teaching KS1 and KS2 lessons online to students. I have been teaching since January 2010, in 2010 I completed a CELTA course (Teaching English to Foreign Learners), whilst I was on the course I taught European students and volunteered at my old Primary school for two terms. In 2013 I completed my teacher training at the University of Warwick. Since April 2013 I have spent time teaching Reception, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 classes. However, this year is the first year that I have taught online. At first, I was sceptical about using a software package like Zoom to teach. The first couple of lessons I taught on Zoom there were a few teething issues with sharing screens with the students but that was soon resolved and now I enjoy teaching online and I believe it’s a wonderful way to interact and teach with students.
My day can often be varied – in the morning I can be teaching Jolly phonics or Letter and Sounds in KS1, then after lunch working with a Year 6 SATS booster groups. Through agency and tutoring work, I have seen different ways that primary schools mark work and how children respond to the different ways of marking. I have found the marking that is the most effective is if the teacher offers feedback to show that they value the pupil’s work and encourage them to do the same. I judge how effective my lessons have been on whether the children have met their learning objectives, were the steps to success appropriate, and most importantly, was the lesson fun. I also ensure that after every lesson I reflect and critically evaluate what worked well and what could be improved. As a result of my ability to be reflective, I feel that I am flexible and have an awareness of the need to develop my practice continually throughout my career.
Through agency and tutoring work I have seen different ways that children respond to the different ways of marking. I have found the marking that is the most effective is if the teacher offers feedback to show that they value the pupil’s work and encourage them to do the same. During teacher training and whilst teaching in London I have seen a variety of approaches to Assessment For Learning. I have often found the most effective lessons are the ones where teachers promote the use of self-assessment and peer-assessment, whereby the pupils recognize their difficulties and are encouraged to accept guidance from others. I share your belief that learning in primary schools should be fun and encompass lots of different activities. It is my philosophy that creating a positive learning environment is essential and I do this through the use of praise and rewards. I am a firm believer in the benefits of positivity and praise to encourage learning with children. I have found cross-curricular learning helps children to make sense of the world in which they live. I contend that children progress and develop skills for learning through carefully chosen activities that precisely meet their academic needs.
To conclude, I believe that the lockdown period has allowed teachers to develop new innovative and creative ways of teaching through the technology that is currently available to them.