It’s interesting how life has turned upside down, but I feel like it’s all very peaceful. In these early stages, I am transported back to the two years I spent teaching in a rural boarding school in Southern Africa. Life was very much about living the school as a community – life amongst pupils, staff and their families, no other towns or shops for a three hour back of van ride away… appreciating time outdoors, sunsets, meaningful communication with others and time to just be. No social media competition with other schools, no constant extra initiatives that were pushed, no constant communication, no constant racing of the mind and body… I already feel healthier in so many ways – surely I can make changes for the better in my life.
On my way home on the day my school closed I was reflecting how strange it was that the things we had been discouraged or disallowed from spending our PEF budgets on were exactly what we were going to need right now. Resilience, wellbeing and creativity.
The Bruce had his spider, Burns had his mouse, I seem to have a skip. Not that I want to put myself into the same historical significance as Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns, but I think I share their love of a story and a metaphor. It just so happens my story and my metaphor are centred on a skip that doesn’t seem to be going away!!!
During these strange times we believe individual stories can help the collective find new ways of working. We invited Katy Anderson, a teacher in Blackburn Primary, to reflect on how she prepared her class to continue to learn and grow through periods of uncertainty. This is her and her pupils story . . .
It probably took me ‘til Wednesday to figure out no matter how many 6am runs I did, I had to address some serious concerns within my mind and soul. I had spent Monday and Tuesday in a constant state of panic – my body and mind was in fight mode. I had ordered a skip to be delivered on Monday morning as for the first time in two years, I actually had some free time to empty our garage. Myself and my partner had decided what house jobs could be done, how we would maintain our son’s mobility needs, and nailed the home learning plan for our daughter. Unconsciously I had made my life busy, because I hadn’t learned how to stop. This is the story of my learning.
This week we are excited to collaborate with two internationally recognised and outstanding Scottish cultural organisations: Room 13 from Fort William and Jupiter Artland on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Our event is part of the brilliant Firestarer festival curated by the Scottish Government. We will gather 30 people at Jupiter for an afternoon of brainwash proofing in an attempt to be the architects of a new education system. Here’s some more information:
One of our associate practitioners, Jack Stancliffe, is about to start a collaboration with a school involved in our ‘What you shouldn’t do in a school’ project. We asked him to reflect on the journey ahead . . . .