I like people. I like to work with people, talk with people and most of all I like to please people. This desire to please means needing to adopt a degree of flexibility. I would imagine that this resonates with most teachers.
The adaptability I have observed in my own school team has been exceptional. It sounds so cliché, but I am genuinely proud of where I work and how well everyone is pulling together. We have a common goal; to get through this period of school closure with our bonds intact. We’ve spent many years cultivating relationships with our children and their families, and our staff are flexible in their approach of keeping our community together whilst we are apart. We’re renowned in the local area for being a nurturing school, perhaps because of the staff’s willingness (and enthusiasm) to bend to meet the needs of our learners. Admirably, never more than now.
It would have been the Easter break, but you wouldn’t have known it from the actions of school staff across the country. The flexible nature of our school team has meant that many have still been connecting with their class online, making phone calls to children and their parents to keep in touch, setting entertaining challenges and engaging with numerous other activities that are keeping the aforementioned bonds from breaking.
It’s possible to compromise oneself in an effort to be amenable, but recent events in education have stirred a different set of emotions in me. I strongly believe that our children will need a significant amount of time to transition back to school and that the length of time needed will increase depending on how long the school closure is for. I can usually be swayed by a convincing argument but my mind is set on this one. Every role in school is underpinned by a need to be flexible, and arguably that is the case more now than ever. We are going to need to organise our settings based on the immediate needs of the children and families that we serve.
Teachers across the country have already shown their strength in adaptability through the creation of online learning platforms, with little or no guidance from ‘above’. The package of home learning support is different from school to school and so far, leaders have been able to make decisions based on what their individual cohort needs and what their staff team are able to manage. I sincerely hope that we are granted the same level of flexibility and freedom to do what is best for our community when we reopen.