The world is a strange place right now isn’t it? Everything feels a bit strange. I waved off my Year 11s today, not how I should though. Yes it was an emotional goodbye mixed with sadness and pride, however usually there’s also celebration and excitement as they embark on their future and the suspense of results day. Today was actually tainted with worry, nerves and the unknown. For us all. Everything is just so uncertain.
I’m still at work, but it’s not work, or at least not the work I know it as. In fact it hasn’t been all week, especially not the last few days and not for the foreseeable future. I don’t know which children I’m caring for, I don’t know if some of them I’ve even met before, I don’t have lessons to plan for. It’s not the job I trained for yet simultaneously it is, it’s just in a new entity. Now I’m not complaining, we’re in new territory, all of us and let’s face it my current situation is a hell of a lot better than some people’s. I’m not high risk, my job and wage are safe and I’m able to work.
It’s still just all strange though isn’t it. The last two days in school have been the hardest. They’ve been, long, tiring, busy days that have been very emotional. Very very emotional. Yet ironically they’ve also been the quietest due to the few numbers of staff and students in the building. We’ve all had to think on our feet, business hasn’t been as usual, we’ve tried to create a sense of normality, we’ve tried to keep things going and bring about a sense of camaraderie but it’s been difficult because truth is, we’re as anxious and frightened as the students. We’re as much in the unknown, we don’t know what’s going to happen next and how to navigate it.
The only advice I’ve felt able to give the students is, don’t look too far ahead. Concentrate on the here and now and what you can deal with right now because the goal posts have been moving on a daily basis. Things are changing rapidly and right now and in the words of the Head do our school, “some of our needs are lower on the pecking order” which is true. Lives are at stake. Fact. Luckily, not mine and for the moment no one close to me. Sadly though that’s not the case for some people and families. So let’s all of us just focus on the here and now, focus on the small things we can deal with and sort and most importantly be kind and think of others.
Last month saw a big focus on #bekind and this month sees a time for us to really do it. To really stop and think about our words, our actions and how we move forward in a real tough time of adversity. I’d like to think that if there can be any silver lining to this Coronavirus mayhem, it will be that it teaches us all some lessons about humanity and being kind. I’d like to think that it stops us from being as millennial and a little less hashtag, social media, selfie driven and a bit more kindness, look out for each other, think of the bigger picture and wider world.
I’d like to think that it will make us slow down, take some time to wait and not expect immediate answers, results and meetings of our demands. I’d like to think that this period of social distancing will teach us to come together more in a real sense and have more sensitivity of the position other people maybe in. It’s a scary time right now, people’s lives, jobs and health are at stake. And no one has the answers, but we all have each other.
There was a time when I didn’t handle uncertainty very well, if I’m honest I never have, I hate surprises and the unknown, even when it’s positive. Never tell me you’re surprising me, the suspense kills me to the point where I usually grind some down enough to tell me what present they bought or place they’re taking me to. This time though, as much as I am unsettled and unnerved by the uncertainty, lack of structure and routine moving forward. I’m handling better than I’ve ever known, I’m calmer, I’m trying to be as rational as possible and I’m not thinking too far ahead, I’m well aware that this could go on for a long time. I’m well aware that whatever happens after all this may mean that life is not quite the same as it was before but I’m in someways able to accept that normal might become a bit different for a period and then eventually some of what we knew before will come back to us. I’m as frightened and stressed as the next person, but I’m pretty pleased with how I’m handling it right now.
So as the restrictions upon us increase, try to relax, take a deep breath and remember everyone else is as worried if not more and what battles and concerns you are facing may not be the same as someone else’s, they may long to be in your position during this time. It’s uncertain for everyone so be certain in your kindness and support.