So the year started as usual (apart from a global pandemic). The end of New Year’s Day heralded the depressing slide away from warm, comforting festivities towards the cold, dreary monotony of January. And another press conference.
“Schools will remain shut until March 8.”
“Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.”
Within minutes, another announcement.
“Teachers at my school. You will deliver live lessons. Every period. Every day.”
“Oh buggery bollocks!”
So the under-stairs cupboard was transformed into a mini classroom, in that I had a chair and a mini whiteboard. The kids were none the wiser, thanks to modern technology being able to hide where you actually were.
“Are you on a beach Miss?”
“Is that a new classroom Miss?”
“Are you and Miss M in the same place Miss? You have the same backgrounds.“
“Are you in a cupboard Miss?”
“Yes. Yes I am.”
Remote teaching didn’t well 🤦🏻♀️ Day Two of Lockdown #3.0
This was not turning out to be a nice lockdown. Dark, cold and having to actually do some bloody work this time.
January merged into February and the novelty of teaching in pyjama bottoms with unbrushed teeth and a cup of tea had worn off. The cupboard did still provide a safe haven from the dog when he’d spotted me with pepperoni and from my own kids when they needed help with their own schoolwork. But, after six weeks, my class still referred to a quarter as a fourth and it started to feel like I was in some sadistic Jean-Paul Sartre play.
Pupils were not the only ones supposedly learning during this lockdown. I had my eyes well and truly opened – My Class Thinks I’m Stupid
Schools reopened and my class and I were all stunned into silence when we found ourselves back in the classroom together. It was lovely. Until I realised I should probably open my mouth and try and teach them in the normal way again. Not that there’s anything normal about my classroom. They now had masks on. So at least their nonsensical answers were muffled and my reaction to them was therefore delayed and diluted. And they still called a quarter a fourth.
Oh no actually. Life did change slightly for the better. We were allowed out! Every pub in England suddenly remodelled their carpark into a ‘beer garden’ and shades of normality reappeared. Unfortunately the heatwave which had made Lockdown One so enjoyable 12 months earlier did not reappear so these beer gardens actually resembled mountainous cafés in the French Alps as groups of 6 assembled in hats, scarves, gloves and padded jackets. We will sit outside and enjoy this meal!
The Stevenson boys left school. One has worked tirelessly towards his grades. Joel was relying on a miracle. Frankie was not impressed that he was no longer home alone, ready to battle the daily threat of the postman and passers-by. Although, to be fair, they spent so much time in their room that he sometimes confused them for burglars when they were heard creeping around on the landing.
Sam, who’s more unsociable than me, somehow managed to get pinged and that was his 18th ruined in an instant. Or made even better. Depends how you look at it. Short visits outside from people bearing gifts is probably heaven for an teenage introvert. And baby Jesus.
The end was in sight. The summer holidays. I told my class to go forth and enjoy themselves. Not one of them asked me if I meant quarter.
Sam passed his driving test and immediately went missing for four hours. Unfortunately he didn’t take Joel with him.
Joel attended his super spreader prom. Unfortunately his symptoms were very similar to a hangover. Actually, 24 hours of vomiting were a hangover but it turned out his 3 day old bad head was not the result of excessive alcohol consumption/severe hydration. He was confined to his room and given waiter service. We were happy Joel had been committed, I mean confined. Joel was happy he was being waited on hand and foot. Covid does have its good points.
Only three Stevensons trudged reluctantly back to school. One carried on pretending that he drove trains for a living whilst the other started doing what he loved most in the world. Looking after money and learning some new Maths to do this. He even appeared enthusiastic. It didn’t last the month.
I also had a new class. A fresh start. A clean page. Enthusiastic to be back in school. It didn’t last the week.
Everyone started counting the days to Christmas. Then COVID reentered the building on day 575. And just like her awkward brother, Abigail’s initial symptom was sore legs. So this was ignored long enough for her to pass it onto me. Not gonna lie. An extra week off school right before half term was most welcomed. There’s only so much eye rolling and sighing a person can do before needing a break.
Is it still not Christmas?
It’s Christmas!! The traditional time where teenagers retreat to their rooms and emerge briefly on the 25th to be distinctly unimpressed about what their parents have bought. God, they miss believing in Santa. He was so much better with gift choices.
And then, as we end the year, watching the news seems all too familiar. New variant. Rising cases. Need for restrictions. There’s a distinct sense of déjà vu. Or is it déjà vu vu? Or voodoo? Voodoo for Boris? Maybe next year will be a good year, after all.