I have been a teacher for a number of years, and over those years I have experienced a number of ups and downs. The face of education is ever evolving, but I have never experienced changes such as those that have happened in the past few weeks.
Currently, I feel as if I am riding on a virtual roller-coaster and the one that I am on is Thorpe Park’s ‘Stealth’. For those of you who haven’t been on it, you start the ride by sitting in your car watching the traffic lights – red, amber, green – GO! The hydraulic-launched roller coaster then propels you from 0 to 80 miles per hour in less than 2 seconds. It takes you up to Stealth’s peak of 62.5m, where for a split-second you experience negative g-force and then…you plummet back down to earth at 80mph – you have a strange sense of free-falling the 62.5m.
”I truly believe that as educationalists, working together and supporting one another, we can do this. We have the knowledge, the skills and each other.Toria BonoPrimary school teacher
The ride then stops and you wish, no let me re-phrase that – I wished when it stopped that I hadn’t sworn the whole way round, but had instead enjoyed the view, the speed and the new experiences that I had had.
In the past few weeks I, along with thousands of other teachers around the world, have set off on a new educational journey and I am choosing not to behave the way I did on Stealth. Instead I am searching for the positives, and here are my thoughts.
Firstly, if coronavirus hit us 30 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the technology that we have today, which means that we wouldn’t have been able to support children with distance learning; we wouldn’t have been able to connect with other educationalists and we would have been incredibly isolated and alone – as our children would have been too!
In 2020 however, we have digital platforms hosted by firms such as Google and Microsoft, which allow us to work easily with our students and colleagues. Today, I have set work for children, received work from children and dealt with issues online as they have arisen. I have asked my class what their favourite season was as the registration question and each child has checked in. No, I can’t see them – yes, I would prefer to – but I will take this over no contact at all, which would have been the case in 1980.
I have also connected with my fellow colleagues on Twitter today – some of whom are at home for a variety of reasons and some of whom are going into school. What we are each doing appears to be irrelevant as we are each there to support one another through this unprecedented situation.
I created #TinyVoiceTuesday and #TinyVoiceTuesdayUnites about a month ago as a way for edutwitters with small followings to be heard and broaden their Twitter experience. Never in a million years, did I think that such a platform would be so vital in the next month – yet it is, because it is such a powerful way for us to support one another and ask for help.
Whilst I am desperately unhappy that we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, I truly believe that as educationalists, working together and supporting one another, we can do this. We have the knowledge, the skills and each other.
Who knows what the next few weeks will bring – the last few weeks have been one sudden change after another and I am guessing this will continue for a while.
My advice is this: as hard as it is, try to enjoy the view, the speed and the new experiences that you have, and please help others to do so too!