College Life at Home: Elizabeth Wood, Childhood Practice Lecturer

Life has changed for everyone recently, for some things have gotten much harder, for others it’s barely changed at all. We’ve been speaking to lecturers at the college to find out how they and their students are coping with teaching, learning, marking and supporting each other all whilst confined to their house.

Childhood Practice Lecturer Elizabeth Wood offered us an insight into her daily routine which involves meeting with colleagues online, marking coursework and taking care of and teaching her young grandson Andrew. Here’s what she had to say.

Getting into the new way of it

Well, the first week was quite overwhelming trying to get to grips with all the technology (TEAMS) and as a department we were meeting up on a daily basis at 8.30am really just to sign in and support one another. I think listening to everyone else and what they were doing, speaking to students on BAND, etc. was actually stressing me out so I decided to step back a bit and really take charge of my own routine rather than try to live up to the expectations of others.

A day in the life

Usually on a normal lockdown I day get up about 7am – my grandson arrives between 7 and 7.30 – and I go through the usual routine things: breakfast, shower etc.

Our centre usually have a TEAMs meeting at 8.30am which would maybe go on for 30-45 minutes, or if there was not a lot for all of us to hear we would break up into smaller groups e.g. all the HNC tutors, HND tutors and so on – this would go on throughout the day depending on when we had made arrangements to talk. 

I would also be constantly checking the TEAMs chat as colleagues would be posting on there.  After the meeting if I had work to give out to students I would prepare that and get it out to them. This probably would take me up to about 10.00am, time for the home schooling! Andrew has a pack from school with literacy and numeracy tasks, there is also computer work for him to do (numeracy, reading, grammar, spelling) and of course grandma has her own work that he needs to do as well! So at this time it would be one of these task – his choice – I try to spread them out during the day, bite-size learning so he doesn’t get bored or frustrated. Then we’d have snack time, and then a walk to our wooded area and trails with the pond. 

After that I’ll check in to see if I need to support students, and answer emails.  When the ‘school’ day is finished at 3.00 p.m. I have dedicated time to mark, and prepare work, although I have to say that most of my marking is done in the evenings and weekends.

Supporting students

In the grand scheme of things I let my students know that I appreciate that they may be unwell, that they may have caring responsibilities for older relatives or that they have children at home and that they should look after themselves and their families first. There’s leeway and what can’t be done will be graded through other means as I don’t want them to be more stressed out than they already are.

The feedback from students in terms of what we are trying to achieve through the online teaching is more or less the same at all levels of learning: very appreciative. My HND students have been very grateful for the understanding that myself and the other lecturer on their course have displayed given that they have other responsibilities.

A special thank you

I have to say my husband of 45 years, Davy, is wonderful – I suppose that’s why we have been together all these years. He picks up Andrew in the morning, he cooks, cleans, he does all the shopping and when I really need to stick to deadlines for work he keeps Andrew occupied.

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