Lesley Buchan (@teach_with_lesley) talks to us about how she’s found lockdown, teaching a class of 30 children and homeschooling her own children and its up’s and downs.

‘Another lockdown? Well, I didn’t see this coming. I think like most I assumed that schools had closed before, it couldn’t possibly happen again. Yet it did. Challenges ensued, teaching online and homeschooling my own children simultaneously.. but I have found many positive outcomes to share.

Currently, I am a year one teacher, with 30 children aged between 5 and 6 years old; I am a mother of two daughters, 8 and 4 years old. This commenced my additional career as a juggler, technician and mental health expert..

Life in lockdown 3.0 is completely different to lockdown 1.0. The expectations for teachers to provide quality remote learning, sometimes at the expense of their own family commitments. Whilst the pressure placed on parents to ‘become teachers’ is unfathomable. I can hear the echoes of, ‘oh you have it easy, you are already a teacher, well let me tell you it isn’t easier, we are all in the same capsizing boat.

A typical morning in this lockdown is me teaching two live lessons; an English and then a maths input. Between those lessons, I embody the juggler: key stage 2 maths with my eldest; crafting activities with my nursery aged child; lunch. I mean we need to eat right? It is a constant jump between my year one teaching, early years and key stage 2 and of course, parenting.

Whilst it is crazy, what can I say about the children? Well, they have simply been amazing! I remember thinking back in January, how are 5 and 6 year old’s going to sit on a computer and be taught. How will they concentrate? How will they engage? How will they learn? I remember sitting on my bed, the night before my first ever live lesson and crying. I thought, how am I going to do this justice, for the children. I remember changing all my planning last minute. Working like a crazed maniac. Even though if you’d have asked me before Christmas I would have said I was so prepared for school closure. I most definitely wasn’t when reality struck.

I don’t remember much of that first lesson. It went so quickly. I had only planned for a 20-minute story and input to ease them in gently. But it lasted longer. I logged off and thought WOW, those students are pretty incredible. Since then every morning their smiles via zoom, the work I am sent from them and the emails parents have sent really do still mean everything. I think my personal highlight so far is how whole families have gotten involved with topics I have set. We spent many weeks learning all about London, at the end of the topic, I asked the children to complete a project. It could be anything they wanted to be based on London. At the show-and-tell on zoom that week; Mums, Dads and Grandparents who had all shared in this experience turned up. I remember receiving an email from a parent who said ‘thank you for this project, we completed it as a family and has so much fun. Moments like this make it all worth it.

It is completely different to what I imagined it to be. Working from home, having my classroom in my dining room and juggling homeschooling my own children. Yet, this time has demonstrated that teachers, parents and pupils, together are something extremely special. When you pull together, anything is possible”.

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