‘You’re teaching behind a screen’: Life as a trainee teacher in Covid

Chris Goode training to be a physics teacher at Thetford Academy.

Chris Goode training to be a physics teacher at Thetford Academy. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

For trainee teachers taking charge of lessons in normal times is a big step - but things have proved even more of a challenge in the pandemic.  

School closures, remote learning and a raft of coronavirus hygiene measures mean that no training could have prepared them have faced teachers new to the job. 

Despite the closure of many schools, vulnerable children and the children of key workers are still being looked after by schools on skeleton staff. Plus children at home with parents at the current time still need to be supplied with work and activities to do.

Trainee teacher have had to adapt to all pupils not being in school. 

Trainee teacher have had to adapt to all pupils not being in school. - Credit: Getty Images

It has meant adapting to a very different type of teaching, said those who have stepped into Norfolk classrooms for the first time.

Chris Goode, a former oil and gas explorer who is now training to be a physics teacher at Thetford Academy, said: “The skills you naturally develop as you spend more time in front of the class - skills like pupil management and judging the mood of the classroom - are harder to improve when you’re teaching behind a screen. 

Providing online learning for pupils at home has become part of trainee teacher's work. 

Providing online learning for pupils at home has become part of trainee teacher's work. - Credit: PA

“But what I have noticed are the opportunities that have come up from virtual teaching at such an early stage in my career. Recording your lessons for remote teaching really does help you learn how you teach.

“It’s also made me realise how important it is to get my wording exactly right, as there’s no margin for error.”

Kelly Evans who trained at Charles Darwin Primary in Norwich.

Kelly Evans who trained at Charles Darwin Primary in Norwich. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

Kelly Evans, who was at Charles Darwin Primary in Norwich as part of her Inspiration Teacher Training, through the multi-academy trust that has 14 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “While I was fortunate enough to complete most of my teacher training before Covid-19 hit, there’s no question that it made a challenging course even harder.


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“Even when we moved to online teaching I was still able to work there, recording my lessons and still developing. That’s not to say it was easy, and there were certainly times when I came close to panic!”

Charles Darwin Primary in Norwich.

Charles Darwin Primary in Norwich. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

“It helped that I had a different experience from my peers, as I ran the breakfast and afterschool club at Charles Darwin Primary before I started my training, and I knew from the start that I wanted to teach there. It also helps that I already knew a lot of the staff, and had started building relationships with the children.”

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