Primary headteacher Jennifer Knussen hates even getting her picture taken, she admits, but she stepped outside her comfort zone and on Sunday posted her first vlog online “for the boys and girls” because “it’s important”.
Like Ms Knussen – who is head of Pitteuchar East Primary School in Fife – a growing number of Scottish teachers are seeing vlogging as a way of keeping that connection with their pupils going while schools are shut to stem the spread of coronavirus.
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It is a medium that has been popular with educators for some time in England but, as we explore this coming Friday in Tes Scotland magazine, it has, by and large, failed to take off north of the border – until now.
Ms Knussen’s motivation to overcome her own discomfort is clearly born of a determination to help her pupils cope during the lockdown.
In the video, she reads a poem she has written for them acknowledging, “It’s a funny old thing being stuck in one space/There’s not enough freedom, there’s not enough space,” but suggesting they think of three things that made them smile.
“They needn’t be big, far-reaching or wide,” she says. “For me, it was hanging the wash up outside.”
Others – like Ian Anderson, the head of Glasgow’s Bellahouston Academy – are making humorous video updates.
The 30-minute online workouts being provided by PE guru Joe Wicks have become a staple in many households since the closures – but have you heard of Scottish his rival 'Boss it with Baldie', who specialises in bicep curls using sausage rolls as weights? Watch Mr Anderson’s updates and you will soon become familiar with his "alternative" training regime.
The videos being produced by teachers are eclectic but they tend to have one thing in common – a desire to maintain a sense of school community, or as Mr Anderson puts it (with accompanying hand actions) “keep the flame burning”.
(For the full video from Jennifer Knussen at Pitteuchar East Primary, click here).
Weekly check in from the Rector. Mind that X Box and YouTube are still cool. So is tidying your room, helping your mum and doing schoolwork online. Be good to yourself and those around you. Don't be out and about. Stay in the hoose! #KirkcaldyHighintheHoose pic.twitter.com/5F6tOBgWuI— Kirkcaldy High School (@KirkcaldyHigh) March 29, 2020
Good morning wee Pirie Parker’s. An amazing big 👏🏽👏🏽to all of you who have connected with the staff at school. You have made us very proud by continuing with your learning at home. A huge and humbling thank you to all my staff, who have worked hard with you this week. 👍🏼💙 pic.twitter.com/hcrF0mXACs— Pirie Park Primary (@PirieParkPS) March 27, 2020