Bad weather, great lesson

8th February 2013 at 00:00

I work at Blairgowrie High as a physics teacher, but live in Perth. I was informed by my principal teacher early on Tuesday morning that Blairgowrie would be closed to pupils and staff because of the weather. The requirements in Perth and Kinross, if you can't attend your place of work, are to go to the nearest school to offer your services there. It generally works well, letting us keep more schools open.

My nearest school is Kinnoull Primary. On arrival I was informed that all their staff had managed to make it in despite the weather, so I returned home to work from there. I did offer to come back if staff needed to leave early to get home safely.

I worked at home for the morning, preparing for the prelims at the start of February, and was called about lunchtime to see if I could cover for a teacher who did have to leave due to the weather, so I went in and covered a P6 class for the remainder of the day.

Having previously taught primary as a secondary science specialist at Tiree High, prior to starting at Blairgowrie in October, a P6 class was something I had experience with, and I really enjoyed my afternoon in Kinnoull.

The pupils were a credit to their school, reacting well to the circumstances and taking advantage of my experience in secondary to ask loads of questions. I found the whole experience really useful as well. It was great to see the high level of literacy and numeracy that the pupils showed, as well as being given a brief window into how Curriculum for Excellence was benefiting pupils there.

This sort of teaching experience is important, especially now with the new curriculum. It gives secondary teachers a great insight into what primary pupils are capable of in a familiar and comfortable environment, which isn't always clear at transition to secondary. I would highly recommend it.

When the weather is like this, people can be all too quick to jump on schools for closing, but we only ever do it on safety grounds. In such situations, we all pull together to keep as many schools as possible open, in a way that is still beneficial to the pupils.

Steven Wilkinson, Blairgowrie High, Perth and Kinross.

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