Things are changing | The new 'Normal'
I keep thinking "When this this over..."
When the bushfires are over, maybe businesses can recover and people can start rebuilding their homes...When the floods are over, maybe we can get out and enjoy nature and our environment will start to recover...When COVD-19 is over, maybe I can go back to doing my job and living my life like normal...
But what even is normal anymore?
I came home from a great month in America to a devastated country and in particular, my town. Students I taught were not allowed to enter their homes and some had lost theirs altogether. The community was in mourning and my co-workers were exhausted, the five week 'break' they were meant to have, was anything but! We started talking as a school about how we can support students in dealing with their trauma.
We thought we had left this fear behind us and that things were finally starting to recover. Then we were hit with the Corona Virus. Initially, it just seemed like something that was so far away and foreign and I think we were ignorant to think that it would never affect us. What started as "China is having health issues and people are dying" quickly became "Infections are rising in Australia, businesses are shutting their doors, social distancing is being put in place, and what should we do with our schools?".
As a teacher, I see it as part of my job to provide emotional support to my students, ensure they are completing the work to the best of their ability and making sure my lessons are filled with productive and helpful conversation. For the greater part of Term One, all anyone wanted to talk about was tragedy. As soon as the Corona pandemic hit the media the hysteria amongst the students spread like wildfire. If teenagers are good at anything, it's fuelling chaos and drama. I was soon bombarded with questions I didn't know how to answer, "When are school's shutting?" "What happens if the schools close?" "Will I have to do this Assessment if there is no school?". My boss did an amazing job at providing support and clarity to teachers at our school and rolling out a game plan as soon as possible. But this didn't stop the hysteria.
Parents wanted to know how their child will learn and what they will learn. The public wanted to know if teachers will be working from home and still getting paid (The way teachers were portrayed was disgraceful and disrespectful, a true disease in our culture that such a valuable and necessary profession would be looked down on in such a way.) Teachers wanted to know, how would they do their job? What would their lessons look like? How do we make sure students are doing the work?
I wanted to know, when will this end?
The Government finally made a decision, which was no decision. Instead they put it in the hands of the parents: schools are open, but probably don't send your kids.
So we were left to pick up the pieces: make sure all lessons are online, use this new platform to dispense content and communication, email students work, reply to anxious parents, coordinate a game plan as a Faculty, send out announcements for the weekly work, mark Assessments (and figure out a way to return marks), supervise students who are attending...and while you're at it, don't forget to eat, use the bathroom, breathe and find a way to stay sane.
I don't know what normal is anymore.
But I can tell you this for certain, maybe Thoreau had it right, maybe we need to go back to nature, find our own little 'Walden' and steer clear of the chaos happening in this world. It's looking more appealing day by day. Until then, I'll try to be positive, do the best I can and be kind to this around me. Sometimes, that's all you can do.