As we come towards half term, I think it is important to reflect on what has been an unexpected and somewhat challenging start to 2021. Overall, my response is one of appreciation. Yes, I have been infuriated by the increased restrictions at times, and personally I have hugely missed the freedoms we normally take for granted, but overwhelmingly I feel thankful to be part of such a purposeful community. Yet again, we have all come together to do the very best we possibly can for the children, in far from ideal circumstances.
Being around young people (both physically and virtually) always grounds me. I can be having a bad day and then walk in (or login) to a classroom and immediately feel better. Children approach life in such an adaptable and accepting way. As adults, we can learn a lot from them. I cannot deny I was frustrated when the government announced the lockdown would carry on into March, but a member of Year 7 provided perfect clarity in an email she sent to me:
'I think I would rather stay home for a while than lockdown end too soon and have to repeat this process of going out of lockdown, then in it, then out again!'
Of course, she is absolutely right, and I have found myself reflecting on her wise words regularly over the last couple of weeks.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff for their efforts this half term. All of our staff have worked so hard, shown great flexibility and commitment to our School. A parent wrote the following to me at the end of last week:
'I will be eternally grateful to not just the School, but to all your staff who have worked there. They are your most valuable asset, they make your School. Thank you all.'
As teachers, we have almost reinvented ourselves since this time a year ago. Mr Hadfield describes it perfectly:
'The whole community has learned a huge amount about education online. From Screencastify to Kami to EduPuzzle to Meets, Zooms, digital visualisers: we have all embraced the new world and adapted quickly to the changing situation without compromising or limiting our core values. Our small size and committed community is a bit like a naval frigate operating in uncharted, rocky waters - we are small and nimble enough to adapt and move quickly.'
Much of our daily vocabulary was completely foreign to us a year ago, and I am so grateful to all of our staff who have been prepared to accept change, adapt long standing practice, put themselves out of their comfort zone
(I don't think any of us ever envisaged we would be teaching in our families homes…), and importantly find creative ways to ensure our children remain engaged, interested and still make the expected progress. I asked all of the teaching staff to record the ways they have tried to maintain educational provision for our children. I feel very proud of Mowden's provision.
Finally, thank you to all of you who have been so supportive, juggled your own work commitments with online learning, and still found time to ask how we are getting on and send words of encouragement; they have been greatly appreciated.
I hope you are all able to enjoy a break over half term, and I look forward to seeing you all in person as soon as we hear that restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, we will continue to fulfill our track and trace responsibilities over the half term break, in line with government requirements. Should you need to get in touch, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.