What impact has Covid-19 had on the Novice Teacher? We know veteran teachers and subject specialists have been challenged to be creative, innovative and embrace new technologies to deliver the best student experience. They draw on years of practice and knowledge about learner outcomes and efficacy. But what about the Novice Teacher? In our continuing series on the impact of virtual learning, we chatted with Asma Saloom who returned to teaching after years of raising her family. She was in the midst of her qualification studies and student teaching when distance learning took over. Asma takes us inside her role as a Key Stage 3 English Teacher at her training school and how she rose to the occasion.
Hi Asma, thank you so much for chatting to us! So you are from the US and you teach English, what made you want to become a teacher?
I went to an incredible school, and my teachers had a huge influence on my personal development. We all want to make the world a better place, and teachers play a powerful role in society when they focus on guiding children’s personal development, such as developing a healthy identity based on core values, communicating effectively and knowing how to collaborate with diverse peers, developing critical thinking skills, facing challenges with persistence, and perceiving learning as a way to contribute to their local communities and the greater world.
You didn’t take a traditional route into teaching right?
No, after I graduated with a degree in elementary education I actually moved overseas with my spouse and stayed home to raise my three children for almost 10 years. When we settled in Dubai I was hired for a role in primary learning support. That led me to pursue specialist training in dyslexia and a master’s degree in the science of reading. After three years there, I wanted to stretch myself to teach full classes and joined the Tellal program to ensure I had mentorship in that transition. I trained first in a Year 3 class and then in secondary English and PSHE classes, and I found that I really loved the depth and maturity of students’ thinking in secondary.
How has the way you teach changed in light of covid-19?
In the past I preferred to avoid too much screen time in class, but now I’ve begun to use many online solutions that I will continue to use regardless of whether we’re back in classrooms, so I’ve definitely experienced a digital transformation in my teaching.
What unique challenges did you face in your role?
My unique challenge was that I began to teach four new classes of students right as lockdown began, so I never had the opportunity to teach and get to know them in person before beginning online learning. In some ways that was a disadvantage as I initially didn’t know them well enough to personalize learning and stay on top of their online participation as well as I could have if I already knew them, but it also gave me the chance to experience relationship-building in the online environment from the start.
What do you think its lasting impact will be on education and training?
I think this experience has introduced teachers and students to a whole new world of possibilities in education and brought education into the 21st century. The amount of connection and idea-sharing among educators around the world has been unprecedented, which has led to more understanding of how technology can facilitate sharing student work, providing feedback, enabling collaboration, and building relationships and open communication.
What advice do you have for people when it comes to online learning?
I would say firstly to be open-minded about it and see it as an opportunity to build new skills, and secondly to keep channels of communication and collaboration very open. Online learning should not mean silent reading or listening; communication is essential for learning and needs to be happening regularly, whether through speaking or writing.
And lastly, how did you cope at home in quarantine?
I always have tons of books on my reading list that I’m working through! I’ve taught my kids lots of cooking skills and we’ve also enjoyed a few great programs on Netflix as well as some great family walks!
If you want to find out more about TELLAL, our courses for the Novice Teacher and and our virtual learning guide you can visit our website here. Make sure you follow us via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin if you want to stay up to date with all of our news and do get in touch via +971 (0)4 403 5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at all.