Teacher of a local secondary school in Twickenham shares his views on teaching throughout the covid-19 outbreak that began in the early months of 2020, and how it has affected his work and his students.
Mr Stephen Jones has been a teacher for twelve years, teaching at his current position for the past five years. The geography teacher entered the teaching profession wanting to ‘do something that [helps] others’ and ‘share [his] love’ for learning however the pandemic has made this ‘challenging’ due to numerous lockdowns and disruptions to school life which have subsequently changed the methods of teaching.
The covid-19 pandemic has had mainly negative impacts on the education sector according to the geography teacher. He stated that he would ‘joke with some year 12 pupils a few years ago about how being a teacher was one of those jobs that needed people to ‘go to work’” however this has not been the case during lockdowns where online learning was necessary, and consequently altered the natural teaching style. Moreover, he voiced that ‘not all pupils have been able to work and learn remotely from home and pupils have understandably been affected by this’, emphasising the toll that the outbreak has had on both students and teachers.
It is widely known that mental health within secondary school aged teenagers due to the pandemic has been severely impacted from the switch to online teaching. According to Mr Jones, ‘many pupils’ behaviour has changed in schools’ with ‘an increased number of absences and a rise in student anxiety due to fears around covid’. He believes that ‘generally, the pupils would like to have things back to normal’.
On the other hand, teachers have reported some positive outcomes from the pandemic – Jones said online learning ‘provided a solution to the issues caused’. Furthermore, he stated the ‘remote parent consultation meetings’ have been ‘far more efficient than they used to be when they were held at school’. Although ultimately he would prefer to be ‘in the classroom’ teaching.
As restrictions ease, secondary school is gradually returning to normal. While there have been some positive impacts of online learning, the majority have been challenging, and so the decline of the pandemic will be sure to bring relief to both teachers and students in education.