The next post in the ‘What’s working well for me’ series is from Claire who runs the instagram page ‘Seeds of Education’.

Hi, I’m Claire, a primary school teacher living in Donegal. I’m an NQT, currently subbing in a multi-grade setting where I teach 2nd, 3rd and 4th class. In such unfortunate, unprecedented times, it’s amazing to see how schools and teachers are adapting to teaching remotely. The online support of book companies and free resources for teachers/ parents has been fantastic. Everyone is pulling together, while staying apart. I think the online world can be overwhelming at times. While there are many positives and benefits, it’s important to take a step back and keep a ‘healthy balance’.

Schools have taken their own approaches to teaching online, figuring out what suits their children best. In my opinion, while it’s good to be aware of what other schools are doing, it’s so important not compare with what they are doing and try to implement that in your school. What works for one school may not work for another. So, with that said, I’ll share with you all what has been working well for me.

Email– I have been putting together a ‘booklet’ of learning activities for the children in my class every fortnight. The topics and layout remains the same for the three classes, I just differentiate them through content and product. I also provide a ‘guide for parents’ section. In this, I give a clear and concise to guide and help them in completing the activities. I also put useful tips and tools to use, particularly for maths. I give examples of resources they can use in their home, e.g. multipacks of sweets, fruit/ veg. In the Gaeilge section, I provide some English translations for the main phrases/ vocabulary for parents. Within the booklet, there is great scope for open ended, playful activities and games to do at home with their siblings/ parents. I have used themes when putting the booklets together in line with their topic. For example ‘Television’ and ‘An Teilifís’ for our Gaeilge. For SESE topics, I have given a ‘choice board’. From this, the children can pick 2-3 activities from the board that they find interesting and would like to complete. This is great for differentiation. The parents receive daily links via email with useful optional activities for children to do at home. These include, RTÉ Home School Hub, Culá 4, art, religion and music.

Communication with parents via email– Ensuring positive on-going communication with parents is crucial at all times, but even more so now. I think it’s so important to be mindful that the main priority at this time is health and safety and that the parents and children know we are here for them. This has been our main message at this difficult time. Parents have the option of taking photos of children work. I provide feedback on their work. I have adopted the ‘2 stars and a wish’ approach when giving feedback. This has been working well.

CPD– I have also taken the time to complete some courses which have been fantastic and very practical.

Teacher wellbeing. While it may be in a very different way, we are all still teaching and doing the best we can at this time. I think, now more than ever, we need to put our own wellbeing at the top of our ‘to do’ list. Regular exercise, fresh air, routine, structure and…. lots of coffee have all been working well for me.

I can’t wait to return to the classroom and see all my wonderful pupils and staff again. I miss listening to their news stories on a Monday morning, sharing jokes, the great discussions we have, art on a Friday and so much more!

Stay safe,

Claire (@seedsofeducation instagram)