What an end to a very strange year. We asked just yesterday about end of term arrangements and already they may be up in the air! We hope you are coping with this oddest of Christmas seasons.
With a week to go until restrictions lift for Christmas, the rates of infection remain high in certain parts of the country, particularly London. In other parts of the country things are getting slightly better which means the picture overall is reasonably static up until last Thursday.
However, a few of you asked if we could show how much worse things are in primary and secondary schools. Secondary schools have definitely had more infections, but a LOT of primaries had at least some pupils off and a similar percentage of teachers had whole classes sat at home in both phases.
If want to play with our Covid data we’ve put it into a format here where you can look at it in different ways.
Has all the strangeness affected behaviour?
Given all the difficulties of this term, there were worries that pupil behevaiour might get out of hand. Given that December is always tricky for student behaviour, we’ve actually found this year is no worse than usual.
COVID-19 has changed other things, though. One is that students and teachers who feel a little under the weather are much more likely to stay at home this year!
In a normal year, during the second half-term of autumn, about half of you have a sick child in your classroom on any given day. This year, that figure has halved! Presumably anyone with a whiff of cold or flu is recuperating or learning from home!
What’s the point of education?
COVID-19 and missing learning has also re-opened debates in the education world about the point of education. Hence, a teacher from Kent suggested we ask how much you agreed with the statement: Once they are adults, the students I taught won’t remember what I said or did, they will remember how I made them feel.
On balance, you do agree with this statement, especially those of you teaching very young children. Can you remember things you learnt in infants? Of course, we learnt to read and write back then, but most of us just have snippets of memories of school.
The humanities and science teachers were most likely to disagree with the statement. If you have any ideas as to why then let us know.
And as teachers get older, they are more likely to agree with the statement. Perhaps this is because their own schooling years feel like a distant memory. Perhaps it is because they meet former students who have helped them appreciate this.
Good news! Primary teachers are increasing getting control of their pen choices! Every year since the start of Teacher Tapp, we’ve asked primary teachers which colour pen they have to mark with. Green pens remain the most requested colour. However, the proportion of you that are allowed to make your own pen choices continues to rise and now stands at one-third. Even better, the proportion who have to use several regulated colours for marking has now fallen from 20% to 13%.
And that strange phenomenon of having to mark the page every time you give a student verbal feedback goes on, but is in decline. This year, just 53% of primary teachers said they had to do it.