4 positives to reflect on as half-term finally arrives

It's been an exhausting first half of term for this teacher, but – despite it all – he's determined to reflect on the positive as he enjoys a week of rest
19th October 2020, 2:02pm

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4 positives to reflect on as half-term finally arrives

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/4-positives-reflect-half-term-finally-arrives
Rose Tinted Glasses For Half-term

Phew. Having made it to the half-term finish line, I am looking back on the past few weeks and experiencing a plethora of emotions.

There have been challenges I expected and some that I simply could not have foreseen. The need to support colleagues and families through the difficulties and realities of the current situation meant that sometimes, workdays turned to work nights, and weeks merged into weekends.

To be completely honest, I'm exhausted.

But despite it all, as I treat myself to a Diet Coke break, (at 4.45pm instead of the traditional 11.30am) - I have a lot to be thankful for these past few weeks that I think is worth reflecting on. 

1. Better together

Although I'm more introverted by nature, it's been so brilliant to be sharing a workspace with friends and colleagues again. Although during lockdown we met as often as we could online, it's so much better to be in the building.

Conversations are better, smiles and laughs are audible and visible even behind masks, and support is never far away. The simple fact that I can look at a colleague's screen and they don't need to share it is an unexpected joy.

The scourge of the accidental mute has been eliminated and we're having fluent meaningful conversations and interactions more often.

2. Schools are open

Having experienced full school closure, it can't be overstated how much of a positive this has been. Children are in classes, benefitting from expert teachers in real-time.

Not only that, they continue to develop new friendships and rekindle those from the past.

At other times, it has been the things that make it an education and not just a schooling that have been so sorely missed.

Today the school was ablaze with pink as we played our part in supporting breast cancer awareness month. Dubai Cares then visited the school to collect our community clothing donations to those in need in Lebanon, organised by our exceptional student charity committee.

Gratitude week continued throughout, with teachers receiving cards, messages and pictures from appreciative students.

Although these might have all been more extravagant and effective in the past, I'm so thankful we could do them in person because of the significance they carry.

3. Community united

It has been particularly pleasing to see the way some communities have rallied around schools to support them.

Although it might not be the case everywhere, the positivity and support from parent communities is invaluable during such a testing time.

The power of the words 'thank you' has never been more obvious and the need to use them regularly has never been so great.

There are procedures that are time-consuming and several new rules that are non-negotiable.

There are one-way systems that require people to walk a less-than-optimum route, and sometimes wait outside longer than desired in hot temperatures. However, as one, they unite to follow them with the common goal of preserving the school community.

At times it has been extremely humbling and a welcome opportunity to reflect on the importance of the job we do and the place of schools in society.

4. A positive approach

At any time, I can choose to take off the rose-tinted glasses, and there have been days where I absolutely refused to even take them out the case, never mind put them on (my long-suffering wife will vouch for this).

However, I still think it's important to reflect on all the good that's still out there. Teachers, learning assistants and support staff have been inspirational in their dedication, innovation and flexibility.

There are days when it's hard to find a positive, but for me, today isn't one of them.

Have a happy half term.

Niall Statham is head of physical education at Hartland International School in Dubai.

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