Lockdown got to me today. Months of trying to be upbeat, keep my daughter, students myself motivated and today I hit a wall. Thud it punched me in the face and made me question my whole existence. Suddenly, I felt trapped, oppressed, agrophobic. I think I can put it down to the vitriolic response to teachers who were concerned about the June 1st return. I felt sick because the 3 weeks in March I sent my daughter to school. Everyday I dropped her off I had to pray she would be safe – that she would not catch Covid 19 or pass it on to me. My anxiety spilled over to every announcement in briefing which didn’t say the college was closing. The self isolators were growing in numbers amongst staff and students – I desperately wanted to join them rather than living in fear everyday.
When the announcement came that schools were to close I thought at last common sense prevails me and my family will be safe at home. Yes I will have to homeschool my daughter which has had limited success in the past; yes I would have to handle new technology and I would have to manage my normal timetable.
Obviously, like all teachers do I went into autopilot logged on every morning 8.30 sent a cheerful message to their ‘presences and absences’ set the work and waited for the responses. Followed by the demands from my daughter”s school and her need for attention. At the end of the working day I turned my attention to the domestic drudgery.
Now I have been out every Thursday to clap NHS workers, I have felt the first real sign of unity on my street and it brought a tear to my eye. So my anger and frustration spilled over after the Prime Minister’s announcement. Everyone has a different calling – but as teachers we must respond to the Lord Kitchener call ‘Your Country Needs You!’ – to do what? Die on the front line of their herd immunity experiment – using emotive language like ‘heroes’ and ‘duty’. Union leaders labelled as villains preventing teachers from throwing themselves into enclosed spaces with an invisible enemy. What is wrong with caution? What is wrong with strategic planning?
Stay alert – after the horse has bolted. I think the reason why I feel more trapped than ever is the government has voted to stop my free movement. so the consequences of Brexit has really been driven home this week.
I’m sure half term will bring back my joy and thirst for life. It only seems right that its Mental health week and thank a teacher day. In this country people find it so hard to appreciate that everyone is making sacrifices some more than others but sacrifices just the same. This is not the time to start phoney wars in the end parents like me will vote with their feet.