Thursday 4th June – ‘Into the Unknown’

What a 3 months it has been…in education…in the lives of pupils…in the lives of teachers…in the world.

If you are an educator who uses Twitter, you may have been overwhelmed as you look at what the world of education is doing and indeed preparing for.  Stop for a moment and think.

Rewind 3 months…it’s Wednesday 4th March.

Chelsea had just knocked Liverpool out of the FA cup in a busy week of football fixtures which were being watched by tens of thousands of fans across Britain and Europe.

Teachers, parents and pupils were busy preparing for World Book Day.

Newspaper headlines were warning up to 20% of workforces could be absent with sickness due to coronavirus.

And The Queen was presenting honours at Buckingham Palace wearing gloves.

Could any of us really comprehend as teachers that we were about to close schools for the rest of the academic year and move to remote/home/online learning? Of course we couldn’t!

Now fast forward 3 months.  Do any of us really know what school and education will look like on Thursday 3rd September 2020?  The truth is no.

‘Normally’, school children should all be back after the summer break in fresh uniforms, teachers will be learning names of smiling faces who are fresh and ready to begin another year of school as they always do.

As I write, there is no date, plan, or real guidance as to what we should expect when we return to school as a building to start the new academic year.  Yet read an average day on my Twitter feed and it’s clear many believe we will never return to schools as we knew them again, certainly not in time for the start of the new academic year in September.

Talk is of remote learning, virtual platforms, virtual classrooms, C2K, Google Classroom, Seesaw, Showbie, Class Dojo and many other terms which may be as daunting as learning a new foreign language to the average class teacher.  That is ok.  Breathe.

Remember, 3 months ago the world of education in Northern Ireland was normal…we did things the way we always did.

There is no doubt there will be challenges and changes ahead, that seems a given.  However, there is a real danger that the thought of coming back to school in August/September to start the new school year is going to be nothing like it should…fresh, exciting and a new start…but rather daunting, overwhelming, uncertain and too much for some teachers who already have untold worries and stress in life with the current situation.

The truth is none of us know what the new school year will look like yet.  So don’t panic in the Twitter-verse.

We hope this blog can be a voice of calm, reason, inspiration and advice as we wait to see what Thursday 3rd September 2020 really looks like.

And if you have 3mins 16secs to spare, have a listen to ‘Into the Unknown’.  There’s a message there for all of us at this time.

Eric – @byDesignEdu

Into the Unknown – Panic at the Disco