So what’s the deal with teaching in lockdown

What can I say about teaching in lockdown that hasn’t been said and read a million times before? Nothing.

End of blog post? Well no, I’m not giving up so easily. It’s term break so I feel that I should do some reflecting, that is, force myself to squeeze something meaningful out of what seems to me, especially now, as I sit here with no idea whether this post will make it to the ‘publish’ stage, a futile exercise.

Why futile? (See, reverting to stupid rhetorical questions)

Because I feel flat and unable to draw out any energy or motivation from my holiday self. I have very little to complain about, so let’s move on from that self pity before I embarrass myself.

Reasons to be cheerful:

There are many. I’m going to limit these to my teaching experiences this year.

  • Students are amazing.
  • colleagues are amazing.
  • our head of library is amazing.
  • our new principal is amazing.


I’ll start from the most recent and work my way back. These are the things that make the most of lockdown.

Recently I started Book Chats, using Teams meetings to chat about books and reading. Shame that I can’t share because these have gone so well. The first one with the Book Club captains, both passionate readers, and so interesting to chat with. They made it easy to go beyond the interview questions to an engaging conversation. The second Book Chat was with two English teachers on the topic of ‘Who’s afraid of difficult. books?’ These are teachers who live what they teach, and are respected and loved for their passion and example. The thing is, some of our students are so tuned in to esoteric conversations, it makes me happy to make these things happen. All of these were recorded and uploaded to Clickview and then our libguides (which we can’t share, sadly). I love providing the opportunity for teachers to have a conversation about literature, and it gives students (and anyone in the school) an insight into their passions and reading preferences beyond what comes out of their English classes.

After these two Book Chats, my intention was to share them as examples of what students could do on their own. I wanted them to run with it: deciding on their own format, who and how many to involve, do the communicating necessary to organise a time, and feel like they owned it. Of course, it was already the end of term, but one eager year 9 student managed to organise a Book Chat on the last day, with two year 10 students, a colleague of mine and me. His questions were thoughtful, challenging and what resulted was a conversation which lasted an hour and a half – so happy were they to exchange ideas about books and reading. I’ve spoken to two more students who are keen to run a Book Chat, and I really look forward to these. Power to the students!

The other thing that’s been valuable is our offer to run mock interviews for students applying for leadership positions, something we started last year in lockdown. This year we decided to organise mock interviews for students applying for school captain – and one of the students who took advantage of these was successful! We were so happy for him. My colleague contacted a couple of old boys who had recently expressed an interest in being involved as mentors, and they were part of the mock interval panels. These are so worthwhile! I had previously researched the types of questions likely to be asked, and allocated each panel member a question, then following the interview, provided feedback to the student being interviewed. This works really well, and ends up being a conversation with every panel member adding to what is said, and the whole session is recorded and shared with the student.

Today we had a mock interview with a student who had been shortlisted for the Victorian Youth Congress, and since he only found out after the end of term, a few of us, a teacher, an ex-student and I, ran the mock interview for him, knowing how valuable the experience is, and how much students improve, having done it once, and then, taking on the feedback, doing it better the second time.

Now you can see how genuinely I respect our students, teachers and ex-students. These are some of the things I love about my school and my job.

Okay, so I didn’t get to talk about our new awesome principal, but the gratitude I have for my head of library is because she encourages these projects and getting our hands dirty. I don’t even know what that means in this context but here ends this post.