Shaakirah Obi always knew she wanted to be a teacher, admitting that at school Chemistry was her “thing.”

But now she is a science teacher at a secondary school in Richmond, Miss Obi could never have imagined her classroom would look so different.

Like every other school across the country, rows of desks at Christ’s School, Richmond, have remained empty for the past few months, as classes were forced to move online.

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Despite missing seeing her pupils in person, Miss Obi says that in many ways, the experience has been “uplifting.”

“The school really pulled together to adapt to learning in the pandemic. We only got stronger as lockdown increased,” she said.

Teachers were forced to get to grips with new technologies, including Google Classroom and Google Meet, while extra resources, such as online comprehensions and videos, were used to consolidate learning.

For practical-based subjects such as science, Miss Obi admits that this initially seemed tricky. But it was not long before she got creative with teaching at home experiments.

“A popular one was finding out the density of eggs in water, by seeing if they would float,” she explained.

“It’s very simple, you just need a glass, water, egg and salt – all of which can be found in kitchen cupboards or fridges.

“We had a lot of positive feedback from interactive sessions, with children sending in photos of their experiments.”

Lessons such as these gave Miss Obi the feeling she treasures as a teacher.

“My favourite thing is imparting knowledge to students - seeing that lightbulb moment. When it clicks it spurs me on, to want to show and do more.

Miss Obi said the key to encouraging students was keeping lines of communication open.

As well as constant emails, her school implemented the “positive postcard scheme”, to give students a physical reward for their efforts. Teachers would post letters to their pupils’ homes congratulating them on their hard work.

“We know it’s been a tough time for everyone, and we wanted to recognise they were still persevering, and to say thank you.”

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Christ’s School broke up two weeks ago, though it was not the summer send-off the school was used to.

An end of year call with parents and students, was the most that could be done to mark the close of a particularly unusual year.

Though Miss Obi is unsure what shape the classroom will take when schools finally return in September, she is confident her pupils will cope with whatever next year will throw at them.

“My students have proved how resilient they are, that they can do the work to the of their best ability, even in these very unprecedented and challenging times.

“It’s been really uplifting to see just how strong-willed they are. It will shape them in the coming academic years.”

The 27-year-old says some of her six-weeks off will be used to start mentally preparing and planning for the autumn term.

“But for now? I’m going to relax.”