Monday, 11 January 2021

The first week is over

A whole week has passed us by in 2021. Lockdown has returned although this isn't the same as last year. People are less concerned about following the rules and more concerned about earning money. This is obvious both from the government and from the amount of traffic on our roads. Whilst it is understandable what price are people willing to pay?

I guessed I had started the year hoping that I would write something daily and while that didn't quite happen these last few days I am pleased I have made time to return to it today. Personally Im feeling good. I have carried on running and I'm happy that this is becoming more of the norm rather than a chore.

I have also been to work today. Not remotely but actually in person. I went for a lateral flow test which isn't the nicest of experiences I have ever had but while it is a necessity I'll continue to be tested and go for it. 
My students that I have been looking after today have no real concept of the dangers and the need to stay in a bubble. Can't say I totally blame them as the bubbles we put them in aren't their choice of friends.
It was good to go in.

Another of my students contacted me today in their usual way of saying 1000 words when all they needed was 3. I need help. They aren't the only ones that needed someone as a good friend of mine was clearly annoyed and frustrated with the whole situation especially as he has been abiding by the rules and missing out on time with his other half. This is probably the hardest thing for anyone. To live close enough to see them but feeling obliged to obey the rules. We all miss the physical contact of others. The simple shaking hands of colleagues to the hugging if friends and family. 
Will we be able to get back to this in the future?

I will speak to both of them tomorrow!

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Cautious v selfish

I have been trying to pen this post for a number of days, but have struggled with it. I guess that's the beauty of writing I can chose to write something or not and publish what I choose. So this is a personal battle between being safe and selfish. 

Nearly 10 years ago we were part of a horrible statistic, unfortunately, the situation got worse and we became 1 in a very large number. 

I don't want to be that stat again. My boys 
are staying home with me whilst I teach remotely and they learn remotely. They wouldn't get anything different being in school so I don't see it as an issue. My daughter however went into her primary school and I guess today wasn't too bad. 12 out of 64 kids were in so not too bad. Tomorrow she will be in a bubble of 35. Government guidance is that you can meet 1 other person outdoors. My wife and daughter will be meeting 30 ish differe t households everyday from tomorrow.

This is giving me a bit of anxiety to be honest. Home schooling and the difficulty with Hattie's routine at home last time was really difficult.
This is the hardest what if for me ever. I don't really know the right answer. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Live remote lessons

All guns blazing, that's how I started today. Ready to deliver lessons almost as though I was still in my room where actually I was at home. A few minor glitches with students on the wrong call but 4 lessons delivered. I delivered what I had expected and gave the kids a chance to learn the technology and work through what they needed to do. 

It was hard. My plan of delivering constant for 25% of the lesson and the kids do the rest was unrealistic today. However, the kids said thanks and they really appreciated the interaction even if they struggled to be motivated at home.

Last year the biggest issues was the lack of interaction. It was too new and fresh and we weren't ready. This year we have got some skills and the tools have come on a long way we can do far better than we could before.

Tomorrow is a bigger challenge. 6 lessons worth and a couple of new classes to get through the process. It should get easier. My expectations aren't going to change and I want to continue to give my kids a chance to interact, ask questions, get some feedback and if they learn something then that's an added bonus. 

I need to remember that I can only fix things that I am in control of and leave others to fix the other things that I can't. 

Monday, 4 January 2021

Why we are teachers

This card from one of my more challenging year 7s was sent to me before Christmas. I found it again today and it just reminds us why we do what we do.
I will make sure when I speak to young man I tell him his card lightened my day.
The second thing that really boosted my day was an unexpected game of eyespy with my 8 year old daughter. The difference now is that adjectives seem to be accepted as part of the game! I'm waiting for the upgrade to subordinate clauses and fronted adverbials!

It was also nice being in work for the day. Lockdown again means that it will be nearer Easter before that gets changed but I'll see about going in a day a week both for my own sanity and the ability to focus 100% on work for a day.

Still managed to keep up the running and also writing so go me!

Sunday, 3 January 2021

My post on school opening

I teach in a secondary school and tomorrow is my first day back after Christmas. There will only be a few children in school and I will teach my classes online for now. I don't have any issues with this at all. I'll be in my room doing my lessons and recording additional lesson material for other classes this week.
My issues with this week is the primary schools. I haven't entered into any online debates about this and I am far from a hard political activist but here is what I am hearing rightly or wrongly.
This covid various strain is very transmissible. I guess that means it is airborne rather than touch dependent. So current restrictions outside of school are you are able to meet 1 other person outside. So in my well insulated classroom I can have up to 34 children from different families in there at once. During the course of the day that means about 200 students mainly from different families and so this means if one student has it within that group they run the risk of transmitting spreading it like wild fire. How can this be sensible? Mass testing in a week or two will clearly pick up this ridiculous increase in the virus and our schools will end up closed.
It puts me and my family in a really difficult place. We both work in schools we both appreciate the bubble system is far from perfect and there is risk of cross contamination all over but we are prepared to do our duty. This says who we are. We may not be doctors or nurses or health care professionals but we do our bit and we do our best to stick to the rules.

The question is should we be selfish? 

Should I take a stand and protect my family?

I don't know the right answer. What if going and doing the best ends up one of us getting ill?

It is a tough call and I don't know the right answer. I guess I'll see what tomorrow brings and then take it from there. I will have limited contact with anyone tomorrow and the students will not be in.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Some suggestions are too much!

2 days into the new year and I took on the challenge and ran 8km. I am not gonna lie I have spent the rest of the day aching. The run itself was another mental challenge. How far do I need to go in order to not go too far before getting home? I completed at a reasonable pace and got home at a reasonable pace.
So the group I was thrown into pulled out the next distance, 15k, this isn't going to happen for me tomorrow or really anytime soon. I know throwing myself into running again I need to keep it sensible so 2-3 k tomorrow for me. I think this group isn't for me. A suggestion that I don't need to follow!

Enough about running, I have been inundated with emails from my union. Being a teacher in tier 4, basically not really allowed out, and schools being told to open by the government but not by the unions and maybe the science. We'll see what happens but I'm happy to go and work from my classroom and record material for my sixth form. Whilst I will no doubt be frustrated by noises outside and people coming in but in the long run I will have a great like of resources for the future. 

Parenting is becoming more or a challenge. I like to think that limiting screen time and trying to get my children doing something without supervision shouldn't be impossible. My kids love their screens, TV video games etc, far from unique but looking into the number of hours a day it is getting ridiculous but what is harder is actually getting on with things without having to chase them around or actually be part of an activity with them the whole time. This has to be something that needs working on this year. Can I make my kids interested in activities they can do themselves without a screen and without needing parental supervision. Wow if I find this I guess I should sell it and make a fortune! Maybe a book! That would be ridiculously ironic. 
Still had a chance to work on the start of a plan for my Cub Scouts and reminded this evening when catching up with a friend that there are things we can do and things that we can't fix so I don't need to stress about them. This needs to be my mantra for now!

Friday, 1 January 2021

New Year's Day

Start of a new year and jokingly suggested to my darling wife Luisa, last night, that I might go for a run in the morning.
Knowing I hadn't been running in months apart from Friday night football and or running the line for my son Isaac's team, I wasn't sure that I'd even make it out of the front door. Shock horror 5.5km later I get home feeling fairly good about it. 
So the start of 2021 started with a suggestion. Just a run. This wasn't part of my plan for 2021, but since then I have had more suggestions, am i doing the run everyday in January, from a couple of friends. This was obviously not part of the plan and so I let the idea mull over me and now I am going to attempt it. God knows why but I guess the real answer here was why not. It would certainly be good for my physical and mental health so I am no going to give it a go. Since then I have been joined to a group that is doing something strange with different distances each day but I'll stick to my 5k and above. 
New year is also a good day to go out for a walk. We have been slowly encouraging our children out on a regular basis and with the aid of a frisbee today was another good outing to the seaside. It was cold and windy but really busy. The path out to the cafe we were planning to walk to was really busy and crowded so instead we stayed on the green area and enjoyed being outside. 
2021 has started differently then I would have expected but I don't feel that I have made any unrealistic resolutions. I did weigh myself this morning and nothing has really changed. Whilst I'd like to lose 10-12 kg I am not going to make this a resolution to fail at in the future. Just a reference point to start the year at.
So writing and running, two simple things to work on each day and take each and every day as it comes, as a great friend if mine said, you can't fix what you can't control, so I'm going to work on things that I can.