Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook wall, expressing my fears and uncertainties before the first day back at school after schools were closed to all but the children of essential key workers.
I think that it’s important that we talk about our feelings and are part of a community, after all this is physical distancing rather than social distancing. We’re all part of so many communities and, if anything, these communities are stepping up in this crisis.
This is what I had to say:
As I lie here in bed, trying to ensure I get enough sleep to be back in school tomorrow, I’ve got to admit it. I’m frightened.
We’re living in unprecedented times and I never thought I’d be going into work as a teacher feeling scared like this, feeling so much responsibility.
I can’t help but be drawn to catastrophising.
What if I catch it? What if I end up in hospital? What if there aren’t enough resources to care for me adequately?
Even more worrying: what if I pass it to my students?
Add that to my overwhelming fears for my ageing family, my precious family, and the need to hold these fears at bay so I can calm and care for the students in front of me tomorrow, and I think anyone would agree that’s a big ask.
A big ask.
To all the teachers and other frontline workers heading into work tomorrow terrified but stoic, take care of yourself and each other.
I think that, perhaps, I needed to be more specific.
Today, at school, was a dream! Our students, as always, did us proud. The whole experience was smooth and calm with staff and students working together to create a jovial, friendly and purposeful atmosphere. Everyone helped each other.
I was particularly impressed by how helpful and kind everyone was: 1. students helped one another with their work (one is a definite teacher in the making!); 2. all the members of staff were so thoughtful to one another as we all get used to being in one central school, rather than five other schools.
Teaching is a fantastic career because it involves working with fantastic people, staff and students, so today was no different.
I had no nerves about being at another school, working with different students and enrolling everyone.
My concerns are more personal and more global. I’m worried about the damage this virus will do.
We will band together. We will care for each other. We will keep calm and carry on.
It’s the bigger unknowns that haunt me, and I guess you too.