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Teacher Talks: Nikita Marcellin

Nikita, a Science teacher at a Girls’ School in North London, kindly joined me for the second instalment of ‘Teacher Talks’. Online learning approaches have been varied across different schools, and Nikita has been communicating with students via email and assigning work as opposed to virtual lessons.

At the start of lockdown, students initially found the weekly online submissions overwhelming which prompted the switch to fortnightly. However, not long after this, student engagement fell significantly and receiving work from students became a rare occurrence. Nikita and I discussed the other challenges that she and students faced during lockdown and her views on returning to the classroom in a matter of days from now.

Student and teacher challenges during lockdown

A common theme that has arisen is students having to share devices with multiple siblings, made particularly challenging if their sibling was doing their GCSE’s or in University. Many students have unfortunately fallen behind due to the inability to keep up with the workload over the last term and summer holidays.

Nikita’s school has offered drop-ins for children of key workers for additional tutorials and wellbeing checks. As a result, Nikita fears that this may demotivate some of the students who have not had access to the school since March. “I’m just worried that some students may feel undervalued, as if the school doesn’t care about them as much”.

Another concern was for students who are children of key workers, who would have experienced increased isolation from being at home on their own for the majority of the day, as well as lack of structure and support for completing their school work. “Some students disengaged from online learning early in lockdown and there was just no way to reach them without their parents being home. I wouldn’t have seen or spoken to some students in over 5 months when we return to the classroom!”

Views on returning to the classroom