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Tutoring in Isolation

From guest poster Camilla Dunhill

Three and a half weeks ago, I found myself leaving the outside word and entering isolation after one of my two housemates tested positive for COVID-19.

It didn’t surprise me that one of us had contracted the disease, but I was surprised by the realisation of how much my work requires me to come into contact with people.

I specialise in tutoring young children from the age of 4 and I am currently home schooling a girl in Reception. Trying to teach a 5-year-old how to read and write over Zoom is practically impossible, so I have found myself either unable to work, or with the difficult task of creating online lessons that will grasp a child’s attention.

For the first two weeks of my isolation, I cancelled lessons with a plan to catch up on all the missed work over the half-term break. However, just as my first period of isolation was about to end, my second housemate tested positive for COVID-19.

Here I am, still at home, about to enter my fourth week of isolation.

Knowing that I had two more weeks of being stuck inside, I decided I needed to take action.

I brainstormed ideas for fun games that I could play with my students either online, or that they could play with their parents. For example, I spent yesterday morning drawing out my own board games to help with reading practice, and I have spent these rainy mornings making hundreds of PowerPoints that I accompany with short videos of myself explaining the lesson plan.

Of course, with my older students, I have continued as usual with tutoring on Zoom which has worked very well. However, with the little ones, I have only just found a good way of engaging with them, and it would appear that my board games have been a success!

So, to anyone working with early learners who is about to face two long, but essential, weeks stuck inside, my advice would be to get creative and get colouring!

Camilla Dunhill
Camilla graduated from the University of Oxford last September with a degree in French and Italian. She has been tutoring since then alongside her work as songwriter, both in person and online for students of every age. Music as in teaching, writing blogs comes as easy as writing songs ...

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