This blog follows on from a 2020 blog you can read here.
You’d think us teachers would be used to it, right? Adapting on a day to day basis is how we go about our work, differentiating on the fly and making split second decisions. But here I am in NSW heading into Week 9 of lockdown which is showing no signs of easing feeling very much not all right.
People in the past few months, via zoom, have talked and discussed the relational aspect of teaching. Our goal is always relationships first, learning second. You can’t have the second without the first. If you think about the best relationship you have, I could pretty much guarantee that lots of the fondest memories you have are in person. You might have an odd scattered memory about a late night phone call but you probably can’t remember the details. I know my students. They know me. The other day on zoom they asked if I was still getting married in September and when I said I had to postpone it I was met with a collective sigh and sad faces. While I am learning more about my students’ home lives through zoom conversations into their lounge rooms, I miss the incidentals. The ‘aha’ moments, the amazing different personality mixes but mostly, their little conversations and laughter filling the classroom.
I’ve learnt a bit this time around though. My aim is to ease off on the learning and focus on the wellbeing. To comment positively focused on effort rather than achievement. That while we aim high, we are still working with 8 – 10 year olds who can’t possibly fathom the world around them because most days I can’t.. As a teacher, it’s hard. And while you might be reading this thinking, yes but such and such have it harder. Sure! If we’re in competition, life is harder elsewhere. Different professions or small business I can’t even comprehend the pain they would be working through.
This past week I’ve cried. Let’s be real, it probably won’t be the last time. The blog I wrote titled ‘a post-covid education world‘ seems like a distant memory. I’ve continued to post graphics over time from UNESCO as school closures have happened. The world is reopening however with the new delta strain we find ourselves back to square one. Earlier in the month we passed 200 million cases world wide with 4.2 million deaths. Those numbers are staggering and while I feel very blessed to live in Australia we have not seen the end of it.
So while I sit and reflect on remote learning 2.0 and what the world is like in Australia at the moment, I feel very fortunate to be a person in the lives of 60 young people who have an ear to talk to. While they might not need it, or realise they need it. It’s here because relationships are first, teaching is second and I can’t wait for a time where that can occur in a classroom again.
I’ll finish how I finished my last blog – compassion (& empathy) is everything right now.