Saturday, 21 March 2020

Living with social distancing & uncertainty ...

Hi everyone 

We are all in the same boat - that sounds supportive & encompassing  & perhaps that is how we should think of this crisis times

We in the UK have watched the scenes across China & Europe with sadness, fear & then disbelief at how quickly it has gripped all our nations.  Last week, there was an air of foreboding lurking in the shadows - a feeling that we were in the lull before the storm & then suddenly this week, the Covid19 storm caught up with us & we are being tossed around in its turmoil. 

I have been a self employed Elective Home Education Tutor for the last 16 years, working with families who have opted out of mainstream education. Some of my 32 students have come to me for all their education from the time they were 5 years old- they know no other teacher & they are mortified that students change teachers each year. Others have joined me at various times in the primary education, while others have only joined me for their secondary school years. I work in their home so I know the whole family - siblings, nieces, cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles etc & because most stay with me for years, I know my students very well.  

Because I know their whole families too, I know those who are ill, who have compromised immune systems like one of my lads who overcame cancer after almost 4 years as I worked with him through his treatments ... 

This week I had to take the drastic & painful step to suspend all my lessons because I could not have social distancing in my work & I did not want to inadvertently carry anything to the community I work in. The parents all responded so sympathetically - many phoning back to send wishes to my own family for all our safe keeping.  My 2019 -2020 academic diary is not needed now as our schools will be shut to the summer break in July, so I will probably only resume lessons in September. 

We are awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild in a month so we have to self isolate to have any chance of meeting the little one with this virus circling us all; the expectant Mum is already in self isolation so we are living in interesting times. 

This is such a HUGE step for me to postpone my work - I have worked from the time I graduated as a teacher - at times in mainstream education; in a nursery school (my own & another) when my girls were young; training rural early years teachers & drawing up a new scheme of work in the rurals of the Kingdom of Lesotho when we lived there for 5 years; helping to raise funds for building & equipping a new school in Ethiopia  for the 5 and a half years we spent there, working in a university library between educational jobs & then the last 16 years in EHE.  I have never had to suspend my lessons so this feels surreal to not know when it will resume. Being without a job or funding is not something I like. 

However, I am realistic & on reflection I realise that we are all in unchartered waters - we have all collectively had our lives changed in mere days - the new reality is something that we do not know or understand - it feels as if things are not going to be the same, as if reality has been warped by something we don’t know. 

However, it is time to take stock of life, to reflect,  revise & reaffirm what is important - ones feels that there is a shift in life that has come quietly yet resolutely, a quiet acceptance amid the panic that has gripped some people. We have lived in remote communities for extended times so we are well prepared to face it resolutely without panic. 

When we lived in remote communities in Ethiopia,  we shopped at the local markets & whatever was available there, that was what we cooked - it was interesting going back with really random vegetables & then having to make meals out of that with just basic stock tins or various flours on hand. It taught me to be adaptable & resourceful.  The panic buying here has seen silly scenes & I am not sure why certain things have been stripped from all the shelves. However, the upside is that more people will be cooking  & cleaning (judging by the empty cleaning product aisles) so that can only be a good thing. 

With us all in the same boat, let us all support each other emotionally so that we emerge from this crisis as kinder people - this looks different for all of us but all our realities are valid as they reflect our own priorities. 

I will be using this time to unwind, to catch up on the many things we put off & to just readjust again so when life resumes (and it will) we will all be better for it.

Take care, practice social distancing, kindness & keep tabs on people. Please share ideas here on how we can all support each other through this challenging time ... 

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, 

Dee ~💕~

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