So today we welcomed back around 50 of our children to school. Year R, 1 and 6, plus a handful of other key workers from other year groups. Guess what? It was great. Here is a little blow by blow account of the day:
7:30am – onsite to open up. Windows, doors and everything that could be flung open, flung open. Finished putting up the last little bit if signage that I didn’t get done last week.
8:00am – More staff starting to arrive. It was brilliant to see people again. We haven’t had more than three on site at a time for ten weeks to it was lovely to see faces again, albeit from doorways and across halls.
8:15am – First child arrives. A little early, but mum said he was so excited he wouldn’t wait any longer at home. How amazing is that?
8:30am – Staggered start begins. I was anticipating a rush, and quite a long queue, but all very civilised, arriving at well spaced intervals. Smiles from every single person as they came down the path, parents and children. A quick squirt of hand sanitiser and they were in. Parents appreciative, kids happy. Kids skipped into class.
9:00am – Walk round for socially distanced check-in with each class. Everyone settled, already getting on with tasks and taking it all in their stride. Tidied some stuff away to the stores.
10:00am – Stupidly began the DfE form. Nightmare. Found the wording ambigous, and it probably won’t match our attendance register. Ho hum.
10:30 – Caught up with office staff about somethings we need to chase regarding refunds for cancelled trips etc.
11:00am – Lunch arrived, sorted into class groups and delivered. Great buzz around the school. Their working at desks that are separated, sure, but they are happy and their learning.
12:00pm – Started and hour and half of lunch duty. Kids played beautifully and did their best to distance from each other, even down to Year R. Amazing to her them laughing and joking again.
1:30pm – recorded audiobook chapters for those chidlren still not atending.
2:30pm – staggered collection begins and miraculously goes as smoothly as the pick up. Kids exhausted. Not just tired – absolutely knackered.
3:15pm – Staff debrief on day one. All happy, routines and plans had worked. Do it all again tomorrow.
So, all in all, a really successful day. It reminded me why we do what we do. It’s easy to get hung up on planning, paperwork, targets, assessment but today was just about the joy on the faces of those children who returned to school. They were so happy to be back. The messages of support from parents were appreciated, but their smiles made my day. They couldn’t wait to be back. That’s why we do it. That’s why we put up with the crap we do. The road will get bumpier, and there will be things we needed to change. I know the novelty will wear off and the kids will push it, but for now it felt like being a teacher again.
I know we’ve been working throughout, but nothing is like the magic of a classroom and helping kids learn. Home school has got nothing on classrooms. I thought I’d got used to the idea of working at home, and that I might enjoy it and make it part of the new normal. After today’s reminders – not a chance. School is where we belong, it’s where the kids belong and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.