Part 3: Why are we planning to go back to “normal” anyway? EDUCATION
Does the nation have common sense?
Definition of common sense: good sense and sound judgement in practical matters.
This post was meant to be solely focused on education and schools but I think the chatter of the day around common sense and leaving it to the public and how they will conduct themselves at this time compelled me to mention this and also provide a little insight into my thought process early on in the pandemic and how it ties into education and learning.
Did you get the common sense when told to stay-alert? Thousands booked out holiday homes (we are in a war with a vicious invisible enemy but holidays are somehow essential). Yesterday was a lovely day and during a walk in the park a large picnic is was taking place. Must of been an entire household of about 20 people. Yep, there is a lot of common sense out there.
A London tube driver remarked “It was as packed like it was before the crisis”. So, do all these commuters really lack common sense? Let’s fire a few questions at Tom from Romford in East London, a construction worker planning to go back to work.
- Can you work from home Tom? (Yes/No)
- Has your boss told you come in? (Yes/No)
- Has your boss told you the conditions are Covid secure? (Yes/No)
- Is this job your main source of income? (Yes/No)
- Do you think your job could be at risk if you don’t go to work? (Yes/No)
- Can you drive to work, avoid public transport and get free parking outside your place of work? 😐
Thank you for your honest answers Tom. Moving on.
Common sense says Tom should avoid the tube. The common reality tells a different story.
The real deal and the selfless
Fun Fact: The average age of a UK MP is 50. They will NOT be part of the experiment for children to go back to school shortly. You have to be at least 5yrs old and no more than 11yrs old to get on the frontline. Get ready, you have two weeks until battle!
True Fact: In WWI the average age of a soldier on the front line was around 17 or 18.
So, after attending a recent parents focus group meeting I thought — the school staff are selfless. The teacher is a selfless creature. “We want to make sure your kids are safe?” What about you! You are a person and have loved ones as well.
Then the headmaster said “we can make the classes fit for around 8 people, accommodate two year groups, refactor this and that….” I just thought, “so does mean that every architect and design consultant in the land will be employed right now because you’ve only got 2 weeks to make a space Covid secure?”
You have to be at least 5yrs old and no more than 11yrs old to get onto the frontline. Get ready, you have two weeks until battle!
Not every child walks to school. Some take public transport so the golden generation, our beloved children need to gear themselves up (remember — only take public transport along with the adult workers if you can’t get to the frontline by any other means) and go into war head on.
The opportunity for a left-field education
I remember when my daughter was in her last year of primary school thinking Wouldn’t be better for her to take a few months out to experience the real world?
You know, join me on the rat race one morning walking over London Bridge with the thousands of other commuters.
I had always leaned on the side of thinking the current school system was not quite right and teachers were overworked and not respected enough.
Do we need to have a five day week of teaching? Do children really need to study 6–8hrs a day? Can students still do academic study for half of that time and learn new skills in this lockdown? More importantly
— what is the “Covid ready” education the child needs now?
There was one thing a headmaster said many years ago and it stuck with me.
“Your kids will get a good education…but I don’t know what jobs they will be doing in 10 years’ time. They might not even exist now”.
He was right. So now this generation could be the generation to encounter future outbreaks. We hope not though…but what if? What education do they need? Will it be aligned to making a difference and fixing the all the ills we currently have?
Don’t panic, stop and think
Let me give you a little insight of what happened with me in the first few weeks of this pandemic.
I said “I’m preparing for Covid-2X”. The silence and confusion was evident from my friends. I’d shopped way before the panic-buying set in and bought the freezer.
I had two options. (1) work and worry or (2) work and learn.
Everything stopped. No entertainment, wine, dinner, theatre and certainly no Sunday coffee with my wife looking forward to my goats milk latte with pistachio, saffron and a pinch of coriander and a broccoli dust cake! I’ve just got nearly 15hrs of my time back with no commute and fortunate to still have a job. There was more time for something.
I’ve just got nearly 15hrs of my time back with no commute and fortunate to still have a job. There was more time for something.
I could get ready for Covid-2X, try my best to stay healthy in body and mind and support the next generation and beyond. How worthy of me!
Like a young colleague said to me the other day “George, I’ve got no skills just digital and technology”. I think the statement he made was not fair in many ways…but it was the realisation that not everything is always going to be secure.
One had to be humble enough to understand that people went from airline to supermarket and a similar change could be around the corner for us. So, I started the working day at 7am and increased other activities at the end of the day, every day.
I got a degree in 60 days of lockdown
You are a fully educated adult with nothing new to learn, right?
Ok, so not an actual degree from university but with my wife we spent hours in the Garden with this extra time and planted 15 different types of fruit and veg including melons (quite proud of the melons so that’s why I mentioned it!). We always liked gardening but we took it to another level. I’ve increased my learning in every aspect in an attempt to grow at least three month’s worth of veg for the household.
The self-sufficiency drive had started.
Very small increments but lockdown could be six months next time….or two years. I hope not. I felt much better and understood these increments were part of a new opportunity for growth. Not quite a degree but opened up a different avenue and one me and my wife enjoy immensely.
I felt much better and understood these increments were part of a new opportunity for growth.
There are some great essays I suggest you read.
The only caveat is that “you must write them first!” This is not me recommending any other reading but your own thoughts and opinions on resilience, adaptability, flexibility and anything else you may have learnt in this time. What really concerns you? What story needs to be heard? Will you continue to pass YouTube clip from person to person or take some time to stop and voice your opinion?
Maybe, just maybe the next generation will read them…and learn from them. They will have an enriched education based on the reality of what is happening now. What do you have to lose?