Both parents and teachers are superheroes!
Did you hear the sound that filled the air on Monday morning?
It was a repeated popping sound, followed by the clinking of glasses.
That’s right, it was the sound of frazzled parents toasting the end of eight weeks of home learning as all pupils returned to school at the beginning of this week.
I say this in jest, but from the sounds of it, a cheeky glass of mid-morning Champagne would be the least any parent who successfully managed homeschooling deserves.
Whether juggling it alongside working, or managing children of several different ages, everybody’s struggle was different but taxing in its own way.
I almost feel fraudulent for writing this, because as I pen this column it comes from the perhaps enviable position of having had my daughter in school for the duration of this third lockdown.
But in what is such a monumental week for education and society generally, it would seem a bit odd for a column looking at the life of a working mum to ignore it.
So, hi, I’m Katherine. This wasn’t my daughter’s first week back at school, but please don’t hate me for talking about it.
What I do know is that even for my daughter, who has been at school, this week was a big change.
She hasn’t seen some of her friends since before Christmas, and she has got used to a different way of working in the classroom.
She was excited to see them, but also a little bit daunted about there being twice, maybe even three times as many children in the classroom again. She told me on Monday night that spots on the carpet became hotly contested, and space for stretching your legs was now at a premium!
Many of my friends were homeschooling throughout, and I am in complete awe of them. And, in fact, of everyone who navigated this uncharted territory of becoming teacher and parent rolled into one. My daughter was at home for a lot of the first lockdown, and even administering the home learning then – which by comparison to this most recent period sounds likes a cinch – took me to the very brink.
The WhatsApp group for my daughter’s year group these last few weeks was full of terrifying-sounding messages about what the children had to learn that day. I had to look up what a homophone is, and I would definitely require about 15 black coffees before working up the energy to even try to explain fractions to a confused seven-year-old.
But like mums, dads and care-givers across our area, and the country, the parents at my daughter’s school completely nailed it. In my eyes, you’re all superheroes.
And I’ll be eternally gratefuly to the teachers and support staff at my daughter’s school who welcomed the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils back into school without fuss in January, despite having just hours’ notice of schools ‘closing’ again.
I know it has been nothing short of miraculous that they have managed to seemlessly provide in-school and at-home learning for all children. (I also know this has not happened without an extraordinary effort from teachers, having witnessed my own teacher-husband working late into the evening and all weekend balancing the two.)
So, as schools go back to some kind of normality, I’ll certainly be raising a glass to teachers and parents everywhere in recognition of their amazing hard work. Cheers, everybody!