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How to Keep a Routine

Scott has a number of years teaching experience. He shares how he has been finding this time away from school and how he is trying to keep some form of routine.

First of all, let me introduce myself: I am Scott and I have been teaching for almost six years now. My passion is English and, in particular, reading, which has been a huge part of my life since my grandmother bought me Guinea Pig Podge when I was just five years old. Recently, I’ve developed a taste for contemporary children’s authors, like Kirsty Applebaum, P.G Bell and Sharon Gosling, whose book- The Golden Butterfly– captivated me during this difficult time in our world. 

The first inkling that life was about to change was when a colleague of mine began updating us daily in the staffroom about this virus in China that was causing huge disruption to everyday life, including the closing of schools and shopping centers. However, the distance between our country and the Far East seemed to place a proverbial sneeze guard between us until the regular updates from our P.M, Boris Johnson, became a ritual each afternoon. There was the repetitive utterance to ‘wash our hands’ and to minimize social interaction but the idea of closing institutions, such as schools seemed a long a way off.  Then the events in Italy and Spain began to filter through like an Orwellian nightmare. In the words of Bob Dylan, times were changing. 

Finally, the week beginning 16th March saw the government announce that as of that Friday, schools were to be closed ‘indefinitely’. Confusion, disbelief and fear gripped all of us in my school. What did this mean for us and the children? Who was going to ensure that the most vulnerable pupils received sufficient food and care? How were we going to ensure that the children had a routine for learning?  Luckily, our SLT are amazing and they swiftly put together a plan to provide care at our school for the children of key workers whilst ensuring that staff who had medical issues could work from home. The mood became calmer and a clear path through this crisis was being forged. 

Fast forward to the middle of the Easter holidays. Today.  I have found that by keeping my 6 a.m. alarm and ensuring that a timetable for the children is uploaded every morning before 7:30 allows a certain degree of normality to reign in a far from normal situation. The timetable begins at 8:45 with times tables practice before Joe Wicks takes over for P.E at 9:00. Their day then revolves around accessing a range of free educational sites and listening to my latest reading of our class text at 1:30p.m. Of course, I am available throughout the day via our online teaching portal and the challenge of planning for a term that may not appear until next year has kept my mind busy. 

Ultimately, you must care for yourself first so that you can provide a suitable support network for the children under your care. This might mean making a morning coffee, watching a yoga video online or running in your local area (an activity that I find helpful). It might also mean having a day of relaxing and watching your favorite shows. Whatever works for you should be the course that you take. Don’t compare yourself to others. 

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The author

Scott is a 32 (soon to be 33) year old primary school teacher who is based in Plymouth, Devon. His teaching career is approaching its sixth anniversary and has taught in Years 3, 5 and 6 so far. As well as teaching in Plymouth, he moved to Kuwait with his wife for two years between 2016-2018, educating a mixture of expats and Kuwaitis in a private English school. Scott’s passion is English and this was the undergraduate degree he took, marrying English Literature with Creative Writing. Although teaching consumes our lives, he does find time to read and write poetry from time to time, aiming to one day write his own children’s story.

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