With lockdown revisiting our colleagues in Victoria, it is a timely reminder we are all still living in a time of uncertainty. At any moment it could be you too. I won’t say I get how you feel, or I understand because, to be honest, I don’t. I have lived almost oblivious to the impact of Covid-19, apart from news headlines and my colleagues being impacted. Here in Canberra, it is as if we are watching from a distance, safe in our bubble, not really affected, and every now and then wondering if it will ever find us.
For that very reason, I can’t imagine what you are going through right now. As a teacher, a team member, a school leader, parent, colleague, or friend. All the hats you wear each day haven’t changed, but the circumstance in which they appear have. And all I can say is, this, again, must be hard.
I don’t know if it gets easier, if you get ‘better at it’ or if you just learn to roll with the punches a little more, but however you do it, I applaud you.
Whilst I don’t and can’t claim to know how you feel or understand what you must be experiencing, I can imagine. I can imagine the struggle, the uncertainty, and the questions you must have. About your home and your work, your friends and your colleagues, your family too. I imagine there is a sense of ‘I can, I must, I will’, because if we don’t keep going, what else will I do?
I want to let you know, though, that as tough as this may be, you don’t have to ‘I can, I must, I will’, all the time. What is happening now is your true and lived experience, which means all the emotions you feel are valid. From worrying about your students to enjoying the extra sleep in because you don’t have the 20-minute commute each way, all of these are valid, important and need to be felt.
Take a moment to check-in with yourself, with each other, with your colleagues. Don’t underestimate the connection which can be achieved online or from a phone call. Whether it is for yourself, or someone else, make the effort to check in, remove your ‘I can, I must, I will’, relax, settle in, ask ‘How are you?’ and spend time listening.
We don’t really know how long we will be here, and whilst we hope for the shortest amount of time possible, the only thing we do know is that this is uncertain.
Stay safe teacher, connect with each other, give time to yourself, check-in with how you feel and reach out for connection, not when you need it, but because you need it, and so does someone else you know, even though they might not have explicitly asked for it.