Teaching as we knew it has been pulled from under our feet and I for one have found it rather difficult to adapt to the new normal. Within 48 hours from Boris Johnson announcing schools would be shut, to waving off our pupils on Friday 20th March, the new normal as it would now be was fast approaching. With the children sent off with newly photocopied activities in their bags to last them some time whilst we all got our heads round what remote teaching and learning would look like, with uncertainty portrayed on everyone’s faces as we said goodbye and left BCS on that final day. The word has been bashed around so many times recently, it is beginning to lose it’s meaning, but ‘unprecedented’ times was definitely what we felt we were heading into.
I wanted to keep the parents and children in the loop and make sure they didn’t feel like they were out on a limb. Each day I went about sending daily emails with activities and work to keep them going. Mr McGrail had given me a crash course in a new website called ‘padlet’ before school closed. It was so encouraging to start seeing parents uploading pictures and work from their children and seeing them engaging with what was being shared and sent out for them to complete. ‘Flexible’ teaching has never been more needed and as the days and weeks have continued, I have adapted ways of communicating and meeting the parents and children’s needs in different ways to help them in the best way I can. I have really missed the daily interaction with the children and seeing them progress in so many ways throughout their time in Joy class. It is a shame to have missed out on the stages we would have seen achieved over this last 6 weeks had we been in school, however I feel blessed to still be able to be part of their learning journey, however remote that has been. I have also felt the support of such a fantastic team at BCS and whether that is sharing ideas for lessons or activities, sharing an encouraging word or song that has brought life or just ringing for a chat, it has been wonderful to know that people are around and rooting for one another in this time.
At times where I have felt challenged as to whether I am ‘doing enough’ the story of Esther and Mordecai has helped to bring perspective on the situation. Esther was in a situation that she felt was out of her hands and one that she shouldn’t be in. When Mordecai reminds her that the position she finds herself in is one that she has been placed in ‘for such a time as this’ she knows what she needs to do and it brings clarity for her. I haven’t been placed in this time as a doctor or a nurse or a volunteer, my role in this time is to use the gifts given to me to help continue to educate the children in my care at BCS at this time. Comparison and the ‘should’ mentality is not a helpful one and we can rest in the fact that our Father God loves us and whether we are spending every waking moment contributing to help society at this time, or whether we are struggling to get through each day, we can know that we are so loved and that there is grace for each day.