Catching up again. Although the point of this exercise was to write every day, I find instead that I think about what I want to write most days, but don’t necessarily get to it. I’m counting this as being in the right spirit at least! I’ve been awake for several hours, but stayed in bed pondering a format for my catch up posts. Today is the 11th. As yet I have no inspiration for 11, but a fair few ideas for 7, 8, 9 and 10, so all is not lost!
School has been shut for 7 weeks. There have been rumblings and mutterings about re-opening schools, supposedly for the good of the kids, but more obviously for us to act as babysitters so that more people can be shunted back to work ‘for the good of the economy’. I didn’t go into teaching for the good of the economy [certainly not my own] or to be put in a position of high risk, so this has been a worry all along. My guess, in the weeks before we belatedly closed, was that we would not, and SHOULD not, return before the autumn.
Initial claims to justify the delay in closing schools was that school was ‘the safest place for children and staff’. Yeah right. We spent 2-3 weeks reassuring children who knew what was going on and were scared. When closure was finally announced, with 3 days notice, the kids in exam years were very agitated, worrying about the potential waste of all their efforts. I was throwing things into boxes and crates, transporting all my plants home, wondering what I might need out of all my textbooks and resources…it was tense.
Fortunately the unions are not convinced by any means that schools should re-open before guarantees of safety can be made. They have sent a detailed report to the government, and have sent three reminders asking for a response, to no avail. The government are blithely ignoring us. Last week a bulletin was sent out by my senior team, detailing what they plan to put in place, as and when school reopens, and keeping in line with these recommendations from the teaching unions. They are looking at distancing, increased cleaning/disinfecting, PPE, testing etc.
- class sizes of fewer than 8 [so seven then!]
- maximum of 120 students in school at any time
- only targeting 2 year groups [those who have exams next year]
- only targeting students who are not engaging with online teaching
- ‘satellite’ staffrooms to enable staff to distance
- an open week when provision is in place to enable staff and parents to inspect to see if we are satisfied with provision
How this can be in place and working efficiently with so few weeks left in the school year, I don’t know, and to be honest, feel it is very unlikely indeed. We have just 2 weeks to the next half term, ‘returning’ for the final half term at the start of June. It seems unlikely that testing and PPE can be available to teachers, when NHS staff are not supplied adequately, and all these arrangements and new timetables will undoubtedly not be in place before the end of June at best…so open for 120 students, in tiny shifts, for just 2-3 weeks? Madness.
We already know that children are less likely to show symptoms, while still being contagious. The school I work at serves a very deprived community, the potential for high infection rate rampaging through families of students returning too early is huge. I simply cannot imagine how any of this can be even suggested, let alone carried through.
When we do return, we’ll be nicely into the annual flu season, with colder weather, heating turned up, and most teachers and students insisting on closed windows…imagine the potential for contagion. It’s not pleasant thinking through how much needs to change to provide even a modicum of a safe and hygienic workspace. Time will tell, but my wife is adamant she will be locking me in if I try to go back to work before adequate provision is made for our safety!
This was meant to be a passing thought, my focus was going to be on ‘7 years bad luck’, but once the flow starts…
Oh yes, and in August, we will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary. Any excuse to share a pic of this wonderful woman!
Things I ate, things I ‘ate.
 Good eating continues under lockdown [and I’m still considering lockdown as being a thing, despite the latest moronic ramblings of our ‘leaders’]. I’ve cooked food I haven’t cooked before [Jamaican curry goat, churros], varied methods and ingredients to avoid waste [and we all know that this produces some amazing results] and bought some fabulous new-to-me fancy herbs for the garden. These include barbeque rosemary, Vietnamese coriander, Moroccan mint, blackcurrant sage and spicy oregano. I’m really looking forward to playing with these babies.
The wild garlic is going great guns too, we had some of the flowers chopped and sprinkled over daal the other day. Delicious!
There’s been more time to play with recipes which benefit from long cooking, like the sweet potato curry I made yesterday. I’ve been digging to the bottom of the freezer to find what’s lurking, and we’ve benefitted from that too- I found a load of plums so we had that spiced plum and almond cobbler, which kept us happy for most of a week.
I haven’t run out of flour yet either, so we can treat ourselves to breakfasts like this too!
I’m hugely thankful that my years of poverty when my kids were small taught me how to cook, and how to use herbs and spices to improve on cheap ingredients. I’m hugely grateful that we are safe and secure, sheltered and well-fed, and able to stay home together. I am counting my privileges.
 What I’m hating- lies, damn lies, and lying statistics. Gaslighting. Fake ‘patriotism’ and jingoistic bullshit. Tories.
When I was 9 I wanted to be a boy, as I realised that girls got a raw deal compared to boys. They still do. This annoys me! There are some great things out there for girls though. I recently bought this for my wife, as an early birthday present. I found it on ‘A Mighty Girl’ Facebook page, check it out for brilliant recommendations for your mighty girls.