Peter Simons – Thornhill Infant and Junior School

“Well what a rollercoaster of a year it has been”

I think everyone in the education profession can agree. We are now working in an environment where guidance is changing on an unprecedented basis and everyone in the education sector has had to learn to adapt quickly to guidance and still provide a high level of education for all in school and for those now working remotely. Personally, I think what we have achieved in these past few months is extraordinary and we should all be incredibly proud of ourselves and our accomplishments.

“Over these past few months my journey has been one I will remember”

Normally, I would teach music across two Primary Schools within the Focus-Trust Academy. During the past six years I have developed a musical curriculum for each school based on learning practically through instrumental music/singing. Then as soon as Covid arrived, I could see that all of my hard work over the past six years was, for now, going to have to changed and fast. My curriculum was the antithesis to the guidance schools had been given.

However as I have learnt over my twelve years of teaching, we are resilient, resourceful, adaptable

We learn how to dust ourselves off and come in the next day ready to educate again. After the meeting informing us all of the changes, I had to think on me feet and change the curriculum to allow for the new guidance.
Not only did I have to re-evaluate the curriculum, but in one of my schools, for the foreseeable future, I was needed to change roles. I had to cover three classes, teaching all subjects and then provide pre-recorded music lessons which the classes could access throughout the week.

So, let’s fast forward to now, January 2021.

I am back to teaching full time music but with some changes. In my first school, I produce six videos plus resources each week which pupils both at home and at school can access. Lessons have been adapted and the pupils are now learning to; read/write music for cooking pans and wooden spoons; listen and comment on pieces of music using musical vocabulary; find the pulse of music and play along with call and response rhythms; understand how to read the notes of the stave; play rhythm cards and understand the musical notation.

During the evening, I then comment on the work they have sent in. Bearing in mind up to 180 students can access this each day, this takes some time!

For my second school I now record live music lessons with each class. This is then uploaded onto Teams for the children to access remotely. Again, there are worksheets and pictures which the children post and I need to respond to in the evening. Potentially this is another 120 students that need work commenting on. Not forgetting the emails that need responding to from parents who are having problems accessing the work on their devices, and the other day to day running’s that a school demands.
On top of this, I have taken it upon myself to run a Masked Singer competition with the staff at school to give the community some entertainment during these times, as well as running a Task Master competition for the children to participate in throughout the week.

I am not for one second complaining, but to read headlines that ‘Schools are shut’ on a daily basis is really upsetting to all educators at the minute.

I am just one teacher out of the thousands around the country who is adapting and working harder than ever to try and make the current situation work and to read that schools are shut, is just insulting. What schools have managed to provide for their children and communities in such a small amount of time, with very little notice, is absolutely amazing and I feel very proud to be working in Education at this time, helping the country through this current crisis.

All educators should be incredibly proud of themselves and their commitment to schools and communities at this time. We have managed to create an education system which anyone with a mobile device can now access and have high quality education anywhere in the UK, all in a matter of 2 weeks. We are all doing an incredible job and no one can ask any more of us.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Vivian Greene

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