We are currently a couple of weeks into lockdown because of the coronavirus (Covid-19). Schools are closed – except they are open for those children who are most vulnerable and children of keyworkers (a long list defined by the government). Whilst in schools teachers are caring and supervising and not educating – education is going on at home via work set by teachers and supported by parents who aren’t keyworkers.
This week it is officially the Easter holidays, the sun is shining and we are only allowed out to get medicines, essential food and one period of exercise a day that has to be taken close to home.
Working from home and not having any of the social events that normally mark the week mean that days all blur into one, you have to concentrate to actually be aware of what day we are now on.
The Easter holidays – that time when you look forward to spending time with your family, going places, relaxing, not going into school and putting school work to the back of your mind (apart from most teachers do have a few days of catching up and preparing for the summer term!). This morning I phone buzzed at 7:30am – a member of staff with a question, 7:32 – buzz – a reply, 7:35 – another teacher who has found a good resource that we can share with the children, and so it went on. I don’t get this many emails on a normal school day at this time in the morning! Although there is no compelling reason to open, read or respond – it is the holidays, the rota says it is my day for a holiday, if other people are working, perhaps I should be too.
By 8:45 I am receiving emails from the Virtual School about the meetings for our Looked After Children, the next meeting will be on Skype in 3 weeks time, I must have the paperwork completed 2 weeks before the meeting – that means I have to work in my holiday. The meeting is for lots of children in the same family. That is a lot of paperwork – what exactly am I providing for these children whilst they aren’t in school? What is their attitude to work at home?
Safeguarding our most vulnerable children has become a school responsibility – social workers have been told to cut back on visits – social distancing – they should work from home, it’s ok, teachers are still in school.
This new situation has become our new normal. Everyone working at home, doing more than they normally would to prove they are working, responding to requests from the group of people who are in school – holidays are now a movable feast, no longer aligned, so effectively there are no holidays.
One day the old normal will start to re-emerge, maybe not quite the same, but closer to the old normal than now. Schools will reopen and all children will be invited back. They won’t all be at the same point in their learning – some have done lots of academic work, some have worked on life skills, some will have watched loved ones suffer, go to hospital and maybe even deal with them dying – alone with no goodbyes. Our children’s mental health will have been tested, so will our teachers’. They will return to a world that will never be exactly the same but they will be returning without having had a rest, without having time to process all that is going on for them, their families and for the children they will teach again.
Don’t get me wrong – I am sat working in a nice house, with a cup of tea and I could say, “It’s my holiday, I am not going to work today.” No one (except me) would judge me for that. I am not in hospital alone, fighting for breath, hoping that there a ventilator is available. I am not walking into a hospital hoping that there is sufficient protective equipment, fighting to keep people alive, watching people die. I have it easy. I just have it different. We all need to be kind to each other as this pandemic runs its course, a course we may be able to influence slightly by following the rules, but not one we can personally change. We will all need to be kind to each other once the old normal starts to re-emerge. The repercussions for us all will be massive for a long time.
We have currently lost track of normal but we all need to hang in there until we find a new normal in our new world.
This post was originally published at: https://sencosheep.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/weve-lost-track-of-normal/