A brief record of these last 7 weeks. Lest I forget. Amazingly, as vivid as it has been to live through, the details are already beginning to blur.
The shock to the system, learning late on Sunday 2nd February, that the govt had ordered all schools to be closed for students. Our campus shut down for children but was open to the adults. I remember the rush of adrenalin, both in my role as educator supporting my teams to get Distance Learning on the go and as a mum, trying desperately to work out what I was going to do with my two little ones all day. I remember being so embarrassed at shamelessly asking for favours from friends and neighbours to check in on them while I was at work.
I was calmer that week. At work the teachers were getting into their groove, working out the teething issues of video conferencing and various online platforms. Consistency was the key and as a school were working hard to support our parent community. We began to get feedback of how some parents were struggling with their newly imposed roles of teachers as well as parents. For them, especially working parents, managing all of it was not just difficult, it felt overwhelming. I managed a little bit better this week. A few regular playdates materialised, sewing lessons, the children seemed more settled. Distance Learning at 4.00 pm was not by choice but at least we were getting to some of it.
Chugging along. The teachers showed amazing resilience – putting hours of work into generating interactive, personal synchronous and asynchronous lessons. Video conferencing proved to be a huge success from D-5 and our students flocked to their cameras to make connections with each other and build bridges across the void. The insane juggling act at home continued with me trying to manage even more digital requirements for my kids remotely. My 4th grader discovered google hangouts. Oh dear! What began to stand out was the amazing power of community- people coming together, supporting and looking out for each other. Oldest students allowed back on campus under strict conditions. There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.
I remember that feeling of optimism that week 3 ended on. It was another burst of adrenalin. The number of cases in the country were down to zero. The city and our neighbourhood looked and felt much the same other than the fact that our kids were not in school. Maybe there really was an end in sight. Then, on Saturday we woke to the gut wrenching news of a new case and with it renewed sanctions and most of all, little or no hope of reopening for the near future. A slow, dull realisation that this was not going to end any time soon. The week felt heavy and our work of sharing the weight of the collective sense of frustration and anger was beginning to tell.
Tomorrow, week 5,6,7.