Teacher Spotlight: Teacher Training in Lockdown

On our Teacher Spotlight this week, Abby (@a_student_teacher) shares with us her lockdown experiences training to be a teacher, the highs, the lows and reflects at the end. Go over to her Instagram and share some love!

‘If you follow my journey on Instagram, you will know that at the start of 2021 I posted about how lockdown was affecting me, my mental health, and my journey to become a teacher. The post shows that the face behind the account is a human with feelings and that every person in the world has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. I am not one to usually post about my feelings, but after COVID-19 impacted so many elements of my life, I took the plunge to speak out. Yes, some people may say that me posting a picture of me crying is attention-seeking, but after having over 200 people reach out to me to share their opinions and experiences, I knew it was time to make my Instagram a place where I didn’t shy away from promoting my feelings.

I asked one of my NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) friends what they know me as. She replied ‘you keep things real and you have such creative resources’. When I read messages like this, it warms my heart to know that I can at least inspire one person.. let alone thousands of people! Sometimes Instagram can be seen as a place for competition, a place where you see everyone’s highs. But TeacherGram has been the most supportive network I have ever come across. I have met some friends for life (cringe I know), I have connected with hundreds of people and I have a place to reflect on my teaching journey.

Doesn’t it feel like this pandemic has been going on for years and years? In September 2020, it was announced that all seven of my university modules were going to be online (apart from three Science seminars where I was lucky to be on campus.. with all the social distancing and mask malarky!). The thought of having no face-to-face support and not seeing my friends scared me. How could I write high-level academic assignments the university were still expecting us to write without the library? I somehow adapted and needed to.. fast. This way of learning was new to everyone and there were many hiccups along the way, but we seemed to have mastered the new luxury of being able to lounge in our dressing gowns whilst attending a seminar! As a student, I love the social life of the university. I am lucky enough to live with three of my friends so I see them every day, but being away from my best friend since March 2020 has been hard. We message almost every day and this lockdown (or several) has shown that true friends don’t disappear.

Even with the majority of the university’s being online, I was lucky to still go out on a five-week placement before Christmas. I was placed in a year 2 class and LOVED it. I was literally in my element. This was the first time I had worked in a three-form school, and I worked alongside the loveliest placement partner and year 2 team! Having another university student in the adjacent class really made me realise that the online MS Teams calls I dreaded in Semester One were worth it, and I am so close to my dream career.

I am heading out onto my final placement in a few days, and I am lucky to be doing a mix of remote and in-person teaching. But I am not looking forward to constantly repeating the phrases, ‘Have you washed your hands, ‘Where is your own pencil’, ‘Please turn your microphone off’. The same school I was in before Christmas have taken me back and I am heading into a reception class. As an early years specialist, I am really looking forward to getting stuck in. I have even brought new wellies for Forest School!

If you are still reading this.. what am I taking from my experiences during this pandemic? I have learnt to appreciate everything I have in front of me, take every opportunity given to me and live life like there is no tomorrow!’

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