During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils across the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school.
This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued.
However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could.
The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise the massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred.
Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!) Interview
I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours.
I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations.
I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.
The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.