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What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Posted by: on 19-05-2020

If you sang that, either in your head or out loud, in an impression of Heather Smalls, I salute you.  Such fun.

Social Media is rife with the achievements of others.  Sour dough, yoga poses, immaculate gardens.  People who have learnt a new language and completed a course in Rocket Science.

I am up and dressed.  That is a win.

The phrase "strange times" is bandied about and used as a catch-all for what is going on.  It sounds a bit like that programme "Stranger Things." The one with the kids on their chopper bikes and Winona Ryder talking to the alphabet.  However, conspiracy theorists aside, I don't think our present situation is due to Cthulhu-like beings.  Unless H P Lovecraft is having the last laugh.  But strange times indeed.  And strange times call for strange measures and a different way of looking at things.

Routine is good for everyone.  We know what to expect, what people expect of us and usually how to go about doing things.  If not, we can ask (your teachers are there for you!).  We have a secure base and can move from there.  This is where Google Classroom and your timetable are your friends.  Not your best friends, obviously.  That would be weird.  However, knowing that every Wednesday, you have a wonderful History lesson, planned by your amazing History teacher is good.  Year 7 are working their way through pilgrimages, the death of Thomas Beckett and The Peasants' Revolt at the moment - who could ask for a more fascinating subject?  They are also doing work on The Midnight Zoo in English, dealing with the idea of freedom.  You couldn't have planned it to be more ironic.  Having subjects to focus on and reflect upon can give us food for thought.  We can build what we are learning and extrapolate.  It can help us understand how others might be feeling and a big dose of empathy is never wasted.

As thoughts turn to various year groups returning to school, we need to take stock of how well we have done.  It may be that you've sat down at your computer every morning and worked through every subject judiciously, taking breaks outside and then, in the afternoon, done something new.  It may be that you have dragged yourself out of bed, sat down in front of your computer and stared at Google Classroom, not sure where to begin.  Or somewhere in between.  That's me.  I have had days where, although dressed and in front of a computer, I have not been very productive.  And there have been days where I have been on fire (not literally, although that may have got me motivated on bad days) and produced such wonderful ideas and done so much research, I 've even thought of ordering an academic ivory tower from Amazon.  

And that is alright.  I disagree with Yoda (controversial, I know); there is "try."  And if you don't do everything you think you "should" do, there is always later.  Or tomorrow.  In teaching, we are told about the "new start" idea.  That if something goes wrong - a lesson or an encounter with a student - we start again with them.  We don't hold what went wrong against anyone, we try again.  And if you don't get through six lessons perfectly, if you don't understand something, that is a glitch on the five point scale.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of wanting to improve, wanting to know.  That is brilliant.  I still ask for help.  Ask Mrs Ward; she answers all of my questions and listens to my worries, patiently and with a sense of humour and perspective.  She deserves a medal.  I am not stupid (my mother had me tested), but I need guidance and I'm not afraid to ask for it.  I accept that I am (mostly) human.

So, if you've done all your work, the extension tasks and are listening to Greg Jenner's Homeschool History Podcast (absolutely brilliant and highly recommended, as are his You're Dead to Me Podcasts - Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and The History of Chocolate, anyone?), well done.  If you've got up before midday, said hello to your family and sat down in front of Google Classroom, well done.  Reflect on the positive and feel proud.


Stay safe.


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