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!

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