The end is nigh. The strangest year ever of teaching is drawing to a close. As I sit writing this it I am finding it mind boggling to look back over the weeks since we closed on the 12th of March. I am going to Dunnes tomorrow for the first time since February. I have severe asthma and so took the lockdown very seriously, and basically went from our house to the beach and back every day. I have started going out to school in the past couple of weeks as restrictions eased and I have met a few friends which has been so so nice! I cannot wait to go home to Galway next week. That has been the hardest part for me, not being able to go home.
Who would have thought in September that we would be closed a few short months later and in lockdown for weeks on end? It has been the most whirlwind year of teaching ever for me. I started in a new setting, moving from mainstream to an ASD class, and just as we were facing into a fun term of swimming, horse riding and school tours, we suddenly closed!
It is just mad thinking back. Everyone dealt with the lockdown differently. I got through it by just working hard and keeping busy. I have six children in my class so thats six completely differentiated work units I sent home each week, and as any ASD class teacher knows, researching appropriate materials and resources takes a long time! It has been so difficult not seeing my little class. I know all teachers feel the same way, and many teachers who were on temporary contracts won't get to see their class again, or their colleagues which is sad.
Irish teachers have done so well during this pandemic. We quickly came to terms with new technology, zoom, seesaw, google classroom, google chat etc. We dealt with the usual criticisms from the usual newspapers. We used our time wisely to upskill, with many teachers taking part in a variety of CPD courses. Teachers managed to teach with young children at home, while trying to teach their own children too! It has been an incredibly stressful few months, teaching is just one of those jobs which doesn't transfer online! I cannot wait to be back in my classroom with my class. I am so happy I have them again in September.
I also hope that people don't lose the run of themselves with the easing of restrictions, if everyone behaves responsibly, school might be able to return to some form of normality in September, which would be a dream come true!