Saturday, 5 September 2020

School in a Pandemic

 Back to school!

Yes it's that time of year again and despite the global pandemic I'm somewhat excited to be back in school again.  I can say with 100% honesty that I missed my colleagues and really missed the children's smiling faces.  With that being said, I am a bit anxious about what school will look like with it's staggered starts and finishes and its individual class bubbles.

That's one thing I haven't been able to wrap my head around.  How in a one form entry school with countless siblings do you manage to keep your bubble a bubble?  Surely the whole idea is flawed and we should have a whole 'school' bubble but then that's not my place, I'm not the governing decision maker.  I'm just the anxious adult with asthma that has to go in with a smile on my face and reassure 30 anxious children that everything will be just fine.  I know I'm capable of doing that, it's my job.  I look after the mental well being of my pupils and it's one of the things I pride myself in most.  Not only am I great at helping them grasp difficult learning, I'm bloody fantastic (if I do say so myself) at nurturing their minds and encouraging them to believe that they can become anything they desire to be.

However, whilst I'm there working hard to do that, who is going to let me know that everything is going to be alright.  I've already switched off from the news and my social media consumption is mainly based around fashion, books and teacher posts just for the purpose of my sanity.  

I have to admit my school has been rather quick to put someone in place and get them trained up to be our listening ear.  What worries me is that we as teachers are being expected to go way above and beyond what are duties are, some of us, myself included, do this naturally but the expectation to do it every single day for the foreseeable future is causing me and others I know to worry about burning out.  I mean, as teachers, we all love our classes but that hour away from them during the day is an absolute must, even if most of it is just spent marking books and having 10 minutes to chuck a sandwich down our throats and moan to a colleague.

I'm now taking on the role of lunch lady, playground supervisor and cleaner throughout the day whilst setting up for and teaching lessons that will be amazing enough to get me through my performance management because of course, we teachers must only do this job for the 'long paid holidays' and the yearly jump up the pay scale, which by the way is not automatic these days.

All this is just to say, give a thought to your children's teachers this academic year, a smile and a thank you in the playground goes a really long way.