The last couple of weeks have surely been some of the most challenging weeks for us all. As teachers we have been on the front line helping you navigate your way through a situation we can barely make sense of ourselves. There will be some positives that come out of this situation, as a strong community we will make sure there are. We, alongside other key workers, have been described by so many different people as ‘heroes’, coming to the nation’s aid in a time of threat and crisis. Our staff have done all that has been asked of them and a whole lot more. We have been quick to act and slow to panic, we have tried to comfort those in need and we have worked at pace, almost entirely in the dark.
The weight of teaching remotely can feel very heavy when there’s no roadmap, little information and no clear end in sight. We are teachers in schools, yes, but now we might also be home schooling our own children, pleading with our own parents not to leave the house, trying to work out where we can source baked beans and toilet roll and trying to live our lives on video calls, at the same time as trying to work out what happens next as we watch the daily briefings. It is unsettling, unnerving and at times, we are understandably anxious. Nothing prepares us for this.
None of us have been in this situation before and we are all making it up as we go along, no one has ‘the answer’, we are all doing our best in the dark. Here are some of the things that we have been reflecting on this week and hope they support you and your families at this time
- GET SLEEP: When asked who his main competitor was, Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, replied: sleep. We could easily stay up for hours making plans and trying to complete the work this crisis has created and yet sleep is so, so important for us to recharge and keep perspective, especially when we are under such pressure. We have to keep clear heads and sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
- WALK AWAY: Air traffic controllers are limited to 1.5 hours to 2 hours on duty before they are asked to walk away and have a break. Those who are new to the role are asked to break more frequently than that because they haven’t built up enough stamina. After 1.5-2 hours on duty, the statistics show that they are less likely to pick up vital clues and information like listening to unease from pilots, or pick up confusion in their voices. Living your life through online learning platforms and video calls is exhausting in a whole different way – step away after a chunk of time so that you keep clarity and pick up nuances often overlooked through tiredness.
- BUILD THE FUTURE: Jonathan Sacks, in his new book, ‘Morality’, says, “to survive tragedy and trauma, first build the future, only then, remember the past”. This is to do with having hope. I know we don’t know what the future looks like yet, but we know there is one and we know our role in it. We know that our schools will exist on the other side of this and that keeping people connected to that future will bring hope.
To our pupils, staff and parents, we are building the future every day: please remember that we are here, that we care, that we will get through this, that we belong now and will belong then to a community, we have not forgotten anyone, and you are all valued and loved. This will be a period in History when people in the future will talk about “what did you do during the pandemic in 2020.” No matter where you are now and how you are feeling, make your story a good one, filled with things that you will be proud of. Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.
A message to our staff, what you are doing is heroic. I know it may not feel it right now, but you are doing the very best you can with what you have been given and a generation of young people will be forever grateful for the way you tried to navigate them through this difficult time.
We are here if you need us, stay in touch. We are right behind you and will do all we can to help you through the challenge of the next few months. We are in this together.
Stay safe, be kind
Mrs E Wheeler
(Source/Statistics from Pixl.org)