School life with COVID-19: Beyond tired

So school has only been back with children for twelve days and I am so tired. I work in school three days a week, here at Satchel one day a week, so I have the luxury of a midweek day off but this is tired beyond the normal start of school tired.

I know that we have new procedures to follow to ensure that the risk of contamination is very low, I know I am out of shape from all those extra trips to the refrigerator when I was able to work from home, I know I need to get used to the many stairs that we have in our school again and reestablishing boundaries again for our children who have not been in school for a long time, all that takes energy.

The start of school takes a lot of energy under normal circumstances but we are not able to have the chats in the pick up line at the end of the day with parents, this would support with boundary forming and positive relationships with the child. I now do the end of day duty and due to interacting with a lot of adults, the expectation is to wear a face covering, which is fine with the parents I know well. However, with new parents the simple smile is not showing, so it’s taking the energy to smile with your eyes, smile with your tone and smile with the language you use so that you help them feel more at ease. We had some very anxious parents and trying politely but firmly to help them navigate the new pick up system for the end of the day, is hard with half of your face not visible.
Tired teacher at her desk
Obviously, not being able to catch a parent at the end of the day for a quick chat means that there are a lot more calls that need to be made. A quick chat at the end of the day feels informal whereas a call seems a bit more formal to most parents. Also where I work has been repurposed for a cafeteria extension and with all the windows and doors open and more recesses happening over longer periods of the day, you need to plan out carefully when you are able to make calls otherwise you would not be able to hear what is being said on the telephone!

Within our school district we are also still having some virtual meetings, which for the district reduces the travelling time, but chairing a professionals’ meeting where there are three people in the room and two virtual is another set of skills and a work in progress. Having to then write up the meeting as evidence is something I am used to doing but normally we never manage to get all the right people in the room at once so it is a positive, but then it’s more input to include, more people to give feedback, more time necessary for all of that.

For my job I am able to move between groups across the school as long as I am very mindful of my hygiene and keep my distance. I am able to go and talk with colleagues about the children, what’s happening and how they are doing. However, to try and reduce face to face adult interaction, staff are asked to use technology to support those communications. Virtual faculty meetings are an unusual experience especially when we are all in the same building, but meetings have changed since March when we started virtual working for most things.

 


What am I doing to look after myself?

 


For our class teachers they are having to make sure that there is online learning for students who are having to be at home due to symptoms in the family. In some ways working with young children this is a double job as the things that you do in your class do not easily translate into the world of online learning.

Yesterday I arrived at school and a third of the staff were away due to all sorts of reasons mostly virus related, we managed well, but now I have reached another level of tired. So we can all see why we are feeling way beyond tired at the moment in schools, but unless we take time to look after ourselves and keep ourselves as rested as we can, we are going to make ourselves ill. We know that this is most likely to be seen when the next holiday rolls around. So to look after myself this week, on my midweek day off, I have booked a pedicure and I might even have an afternoon power-nap too! So please do keep yourself healthy, the question you need to ask yourself; “What am I doing to look after myself?”