Coronavirus: 'Don't get angry, just do your best'

Teacher and parent Adam Black had reservations about working from home, but says the key is that schools are flexible

Adam Black

Coronavirus: 'Don't get angry, just do your best'

When the news came in March that we would be working from home, I had massive reservations about how this would work.

We had been given good training and guidance on using Google Classrooms, and as a department we sat down and discussed the best way to make a meaningful impact during the next few weeks at home.

The headteacher was, as usual, amazing and told the staff that our safety was his primary concern and that he believed in us as a school providing top-quality learning from home.

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Even with that, I was worried how I was going to be able to work with my two young children also at home with me. I don’t tend to work when my boys are up and we don’t give them iPad time yet, so their faces when I brought the school laptop home was one of delight. They had their toy tools out immediately trying to "fix" it and I could really see them being a complete distraction during the working day.

I had a think how I could make things easier for me, and downloaded the Google Classroom app to my phone which gives me much easier access. Now, if a pupil asks me a question I can deal with it on my phone (something my boys are more familiar seeing) rather than sitting down and using the laptop every time.

This will help keep a more pleasant atmosphere at home and relieve my stress about them potentially breaking the laptop my school has kindly let me borrow. Using technology for work on a personal device is something fairly new to me, but this is an exceptional time.

I also agreed with my wife that we both need spells when we can focus on our work in relative peace. That could be on an ad hoc basis or if it helps, but it may be worthwhile putting something more structured in place –structure is good for children and adults.

During the Easter holiday this past fortnight, I’ve been amazed how quickly the lockdown as become "normal". Going back to work next week has made me start to remind the boys that Daddy will be spending time on his phone and computer more, need to give the "big boys and girls" I teach some work. I can tell they’re secretly pleased my daily "fun" activities for them will be less organised!

One thing is for sure: I’m not going to spend the next however many weeks or months getting angry with my children for being stuck in this situation with me, and I’m not going to spend it getting angry with myself as a teacher. I’m just going to try and do both as best I can.

This is an unusual and unprecedented time for everyone, which has the advantage of everyone realising that there needs to be flexibility in how it's managed. Now, I’m away to hide the laptop from those boys…

Adam Black is a primary teacher in Scotland who, in the New Year's Honours list, received the British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering. He tweets @adam_black23

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