Welcome to our summer newsletter 2020COLLABORATE • ENGAGE • INSPIRE
The last couple of months have been a rollercoaster of emotions and adjustments for students and teachers alike. Here at the Sussex Maths Hub, we’ve been working to support our teachers, specialists and schools in this unique scenario.
We hope you find the enclosed materials interesting and helpful.
Above all – Stay Safe.
Reflections on Distance Learning – adapting to school closures and remote support
England China Exchange 2020 – A rundown of our March 2020 Lesson Demonstrations from our UK Shanghai Exchange Teachers.
PD Story – Assistant Maths Hub Lead Katrina Pounder tells us about her journey through Mastery.
LIFE IN LOCKDOWN!
REFLECTIONS ON DISTANCE LEARNING
Johanna Stedman – Maths Hub Lead
If someone had told me this time last year that I would be teaching my 6th form students from my kitchen, there’s not a chance I would have believed them – and I’m sure there are many of you out there feeling the same! The changes to our lives over the past several weeks often seem to me like we’re living in a sort of surreal fantasy novel, but slowly and surely we’re making the small (and some fairly large) changes that are creating, at least for now, our ‘New Normal’.
Like many of you, I’m a teacher and a parent, and finding the time, patience and technical skill to balance those roles has been a challenge. As a maths teacher, I’ve learned to use new technology, and adapt the technology we already used, and since the school closures I’ve had to adjust to the idea that I’m becoming a virtual teacher, whether I’m ready or not!
But I’m not the only one. One thing I’ve realised from watching my Maths Hub colleagues running off mid meeting to deal with a child doing something they shouldn’t, having a colleagues child ‘photobomb’ our meetings (hilarious!), and having one of their children interrupt to introduce us all to his toys, is that we’re all in this together.
When it comes to technology, I’ve discovered a whole host of useful tools, from using Zoom to connect with my Maths Hub colleagues both across Sussex and nationally, to using Microsoft Teams to connect with my A Level Students, to accessing the tools sent home with my Year 8, 11 & 13 children. A colleague of mine uses Loom, a great free piece of software which records you clicking through a task on your computer, which she has found invaluable.
I’ve learned that online meetings need to have an agenda and a clear focus – Zoom (free) for example has a 40 minute limit on video calls, so it can be difficult to find time for everything you want to talk about – but more than that, the agenda helps you focus your thoughts and establish a sense of normality.
There have been some challenges – trying to get my hue camera working on teams was an experience! Online lessons will never be able to replace the real thing – the format is too restrictive. You lose the interactions, the misconceptions and misunderstanding – and in doing so lose the ability to react and respond to your students. You’re also missing out on the opportunity to progress your own development through reflection and evaluation. And finding the balance between teaching my students and supporting my own children with their studies is something I’m working on every day.
But there are positives too. My students are learning, which is great, but more importantly, they are in contact – sharing ideas, chatting to me and each other, and getting the reassurance they need that life is still going on. They send me the questions they want me to review – we have a shared plan (thank you One Note!). My children are showing a resilience and level of maturity that I find both humbling and inspirational.
In short, we’re all supporting each other.