Planning your working hours

Many people are still working from home at the moment but if the schools start to return in a couple of weeks, it is likely that some businesses will start to allow employees to return back to work.

It may be that working hours have to be staggered to allow for social distancing and so not all employees are in at the same time. If this is the case then you need to think about what hours or days you may be able to work. If children are only going back in stages then it may be that you still have a child that is going to be at home. This could impact on the times you can go in to work. You may still be allowed to work from home if this is the case or if you need to isolate at home.

If you are looking for a new job, then knowing what hours you can work will allow you to narrow your search down and only apply for jobs that are suitable to your situation.

If you really need flexible working then you may consider going self-employed. This will give you the ability to set your own hours to a certain extent although you may have to fit in with other businesses.

Exams cancelled again for this summer

The government have announced that exams will again be cancelled this summer for those doing A levels and GSCE’s. Many people are worried that this means schools will not be going back before the summer and although they have not promised they will, this doesn’t mean anything either way. The exams have been cancelled because even if the pupils do go back in February, there has been so much disruption over the last 12 months it would not really be fair to put students through exams. Also, it would be extremely hard to carry out exams in the proper way whilst ensuring social distancing and bubbles etc.

As last year, the students will be graded on the lit course work and possibly mock exams if they have been done. For some pupils this will be a sign of relive but for others that maybe struggles with some of the course work but have since worked really hard or who excel in exams, this many not be the best news.

Anybody that is worried about their exams should talk to their teacher. They will be able to advise them on what they need to do to improve and what the process for grading will be.

How to help children that are struggling in class

As a teacher it is important to recognise the children that may need extra help within the classroom. It may be that they are not sitting quietly and chatting or that they are not interested in listening, but other times it can be that they have other issues which is making it hard for them to understand what they should be doing. It is very important not to dismiss a child as acting up when you don’t know the reason that they do not seem to be doing their work. It may be that the child has a hearing issue so they simply cannot hear all the instructions or it could be that they cannot process the information that you are telling them quick enough. These issues can be missed for quite sometime but it is important to get any tests done as soon as possible if they may be needed.

You should always be trying to find ways of encouraging children to work. Often shouting at them because they refuse to do something will only make them more stubborn so often rewards work better. A simple rewards chart that allows them to see their progress can be enough to help them focus on the task in hand.

Tutoring children to catch up on missed learning

There are a great number of children who have recently missed out on school learning due to the lockdown restrictions which closed all schools for a few months. Some parents are worried about this and want to help their children to catch up and so they are turning to private tutors to support learning at home.

Finding a tutor that can help your child to progress in their learning can be a difficult process as it is a good idea to try to get a tutor that specialises in a particular age range and has knowledge of the current curriculum. Once you have found a suitable tutor and have discussed the support your child needs, a timetable for tutoring will need to be agreed. It is sensible to have a couple of sessions a week initially so that good progress will hopefully be made. If it is possible to have contact with the school to ascertain the areas of concern it will be helpful in targeting support.

Paying for a private tutor is sometimes a problem for some families but it is a worthwhile investment in their child’s future progress and may be only needed for a period of time until the child has caught up with their peers.

How are teachers adapting to the new normal?

It has been a difficult time for everyone over the last year not least the thousands of teachers in the UK who have been called upon to adapt their teaching methods and resources time and time again. From keeping in touch with children during lockdown to at the present time providing distance learning alongside classroom teaching it has proved a challenge for even the most talented and experienced teachers.

Once schools reopened for all pupils in September teachers found themselves taking on the role of cleaner, lunchtime supervisor and computer expert along with their normal heavy workload. Many teachers have as little as half an hour away from their bubble of children during the day and are prevented from socialising in school with colleagues. But, as usual, teachers have risen to the challenge and are working hard to keep children in their care safe and happy.

The teachers of younger children are having to adapt their teaching methods from a child centred curriculum to one that is more table-based which has been tough as research has shown that young children learn best through play but teachers have become very creative in the way they are delivering the curriculum and continue to adapt as necessary.