2020 - Review of the Year
Pause for Thought
Why write a review of 2020? It’s generally agreed that it was awful, so what is the point?
Reflection is a vital part of teaching and learning. Without reflecting on their practices, teachers will invariably teach the same material in the same way year on year; without the opportunity to reflect on their own learning, students make less progress.
So, for anyone to do any better, careful consideration about what has gone well and what can be done to improve must take place.
Review of 2020: Transition to Online Tuition
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that online tuition takes place.
Students are still at the centre of what we do, but tuition has had to change in order to make sure that students are getting the best possible support.
Face-to-face tuition is still not possible: rising cases and further restrictions in London mean that most face-to-face tuition is still not allowed under government guidelines.
What we have done so far
All 1:1 sessions for students in schools are held online, via Zoom.
There's investment in equipment, including HD cameras and proper microphones to make the sound and image quality as good as it can be.
Tuition in the new year
We are looking to expand group lessons in order to help support as many students taking their exams as possible.
Recap: Reading Opportunities
The long weeks and months of isolation in 2020 meant that I could make a start on the 'to be read' pile...
Which, of course, only meant several bank-crippling book purchases as one book sparked an interest in another.
During 2020 (so far) I’ve managed to read 50 books. By midnight on the 31st, I’m expecting this number to be more like 55 – I’m part way through three books at the moment. Even while I was studying literature at university, I didn’t read this many books.
So, in a very weird way, I’m really grateful for the pandemic. Retrospectively, it’s been a really great opportunity to explore new authors and genres (including historical and non-fiction) that I’ve never really tried before.
Opportunities in 2021
2020 has highlighted many important issues and now climate change, inequality, and mental health are at the forefront of our minds as we enter 2021.
It might be a little bit early to put down some ‘resolutions’, but it’s worth having some overarching goals in mind as we transition from one term to the next.
While I can’t do much more about climate change, there has been some interesting shifts in the move to online teaching. I’m driving less – and students (or their parents) aren’t driving to me and, naturally, this helps to reduce carbon emissions.
But I’m becoming increasingly aware of the impact of smaller choices. There is a lot less printing as all of the worksheets move online. With the creation of more online content, this will only get better. Little changes like moving to recycled paper and plastic stationery help.
Inequality in Education
Private tuition is a luxury that not all students can afford. Behind the scenes of each lesson there are hours spent preparing materials and CPD. This is reflected in the fees that people pay.
The pandemic has widened the gap in attainment between students from different backgrounds. Consequently, there has been an influx in students (and their parents) who had never considered 1:1 tuition before this year enquiring about costs of 1:1 tuition.
In order to support students regardless of their background, I’m working on creating online content and courses. This material, due to go live in 2021, will – I hope – help those who aren’t able to have 1:1 tuition structure their own learning and revision.
Mental Health of Students
2020 has taken an unprecedented toll on everybody’s mental health. As a result, I’m trying to educate myself as much as possible by reading extensively and qualifying as a mental health first aider in order to help students who have struggled with being in and out of lockdown.
While there is hope on the horizon in terms of vaccines and the schools staying open, students have had a lot of disruption and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. This disruption doesn’t start and end with being socially isolated from their friends, but extends to being unable to attend extra curricular events, take on responsibilities and part time jobs, as well as worries about the health, wellbeing, and financial security of themselves and relatives.
In 2021, we will be putting on a series of workshops and events throughout the year in order to address the difficulties that students have faced, as well as give them a platform in order to voice their own concerns.