Wednesday, 18 March 2020

What's next?

When running events started cancelling, it seemed that anyone who dared to mention that they were upset or disappointed was subject to criticism on Facebook and Twitter (and probably real life, but I don't get out much so don't get to experience that).  I can see both sides... you've trained for something, planned for something and then it is taken away.  On the other side, Covid-19 is a big deal.  I've lost count of the number of races I have had cancelled - but the only one that really matters is Boston.  Hopefully I'll get to run the rescheduled race in September.

But the cancellation of races, and today the cancellation of parkrun hits hard because it is symptomatic of the fact that so much of what we take for granted is no longer available for us.  This is happening at a time when many of us are losing our normal routine of work.

Friday will be my last normal day at work.  I don't know when we will be back at school and, if I am honest, it is a terrifying prospect.  Logistically it is going to be a nightmare delivering lessons remotely, trying to engage, enthuse and educate children via a laptop in my kitchen, while trying to chivvy my own children into getting on with their school work and not devouring the contents of the fridge within minutes of me getting back from the supermarket.  My first hurdle is getting to grips with Microsoft Team and then scanning all the material so that I can share it...

But the bigger problem is relationships.  I love the teaching part of my job - being in front of a class, doing whatever it takes to get a room full of students to understand the Krebs cycle... I love my colleagues too.  I work with a group of highly motivated professionals who are all committed to the same thing that I am committed to - educating the next generation.  Yes, we may moan about the behaviour of a certain class, whinge about the ever increasing demands from management and have collective a collective grump fest about having to write eleventy billion reports before the end of the week, but on the whole we love it... there is no way we'd do it for the money we are on if we didn't.  I made the mistake of telling a non teacher friend how much I earned the other day... after teaching for 10 years.... I think they are still laughing....

I don't know what the next few weeks will bring.  I know that I am going to miss my students, the drive to work, the routine, the banter in the staff room and the friendships. While we are all working remotely I think it is imperative that we keep in contact, I'm not sure what that contact will look like.  I am concerned that working from home will allow work to take over my life in the way it did when I first qualified as a teacher.  I must strive to remember that the kitchen is still the place where I sit with friends and family to share a few drinks and laughs, it is only temporarily my workplace.  Social isolation cannot last forever.

But first, we have two more days... two days in which we need to calm the younger children down and remind them that it is not a holiday, hold the hands of the yr11 and yr13 students as we wait to find out what will happen with regard to GCSEs and A'levels and spend hours scanning worksheets...

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