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LOCAL HERO: University student launches ‘teach-a-thon’ fundraiser to help disadvantaged pupils in lockdown

LOCAL HERO: University student launches ‘teach-a-thon’ fundraiser to help disadvantaged pupils in lockdown

Image: Shaun Keeling and Sam Jordan teach-a-thon

A Birmingham City University student and local primary teacher is planning his longest ever lesson to raise money for pupils struggling to get hold of home-schooling equipment during the current Covid lockdown. 

Shaun Keeling, a postgraduate research student at the University and teacher at Anglesey Primary School in the Lozells area of Birmingham, will be delivering a 24 hour online teach-a-thon from 9am on Monday 1 February through to 9am the following day.  Shaun’s fellow teacher and colleague Sam Jordan will be co-hosting the extra-long lesson, which will include tasks to help children improve their mental health as well as more traditional topics.

The Birmingham-based 31 year olds are running the round-the-clock class, which will be broadcast via a shared livestream on YouTube, to raise funds for much needed computing equipment to help pupils who are having difficulty accessing learning resources while face-to-face lessons at their school remain off-limit during the latest lockdown.

Shaun and Sam have set up a gofundme page for their 24 hour teaching stint for people to donate to. Their initial target of £1,000 has already been reached and the money raised so far will cover the cost of around ten devices. But the fundraising page is remaining open for the duration of the teach-a-thon in the hope that more cash can be collected for additional learning resources for pupils who are currently missing out, and for school community projects.

There’s a full curriculum planned for the day with lessons covering everything from maths, English, geography and science to history, art, and drama. There will even be some time for mindfulness and PE with quizzes and other fun activities also thrown in for good measure. After the broadcast, the teaching duo will draft up a timetable so children can access the stream at certain points and for relevant lessons.

Shaun and Sam have been putting in extra hours to plan the 24 hour class but they’ve also been making sure they get plenty of rest, as well as watching what they eat and exercising regularly, to make sure they’re mentally and physically prepared for the big day.Shaun, whose doctoral thesis at Birmingham City University is on finding 'moments of light' within the current pandemic, said:

“We’re all aware of the impact the Covid lockdown is having on children’s education and wellbeing but it’s especially hard on those who are struggling to access lessons online. So Sam and I wanted to do our bit to help make sure these pupils don’t miss out.

“We’re really looking forward to the teach-a-thon although it’s going to be a bit of an education endurance test for the both of us. Still, at least it will give parents a bit of a break from home schooling and hopefully the children will enjoy the lessons too. Of course, we don’t expect them to sit through the whole 24 hours!”

Dr Louise Wheatcroft, Senior Lecturer in Primary English at Birmingham City University and Shaun’s research tutor, said:

“Teachers are thoroughly dedicated professionals, fully committed to providing the best possible education for our children. We’ve all seen the efforts they’ve made to keep classes going as best they can throughout the pandemic but what Shaun and Sam are doing is way above the call of duty!

“We always say it takes a special type of person to be a teacher and Shaun and Sam are testament to that statement.”

Sam and Shaun’s Anglesey Primary School 24 hour teach-a-thon will be available to view live on YouTube from 9am on Monday 1 February 2021.

There will be a website replay on the Anglesey School website and the lessons will also be available on YouTube as two 12 hour videos, which can be accessed any time after the event.


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