Covid-19 lockdown day 9: 'I've retired from real life'

In her coronavirus lockdown, FE teacher Sarah Simons says she has lost all desire to get involved with the outside world

Sarah Simons

Coronavirus lockdown: I'm retreating from real life, says college teacher Sarah Simons

I have leaned all the way into lockdown now. Maybe a little too far – I’ve even relaxed my 'only at Christmas’ jigsaw rule (they are pointless but I find them relaxing) and have tipped Shopping of the 1970s all over my kitchen table. And while Amazon is still delivering and we still have food in the cupboards, I can’t imagine rekindling a desire to get involved with the outside world. That’s it. I have retired from real life. Apart from theatre visits. My stagey tendencies will be the last thing to go, even though the theatre we’ve had booked for months is being cancelled show by show.

Even Boris Johnson’s 5pm broadcasts have lost their wave of tension. I mean, after the Monday night announcement of a national shut-in, what’s left? Of course, redoubling my home-bird comfort doesn’t minimise the fact that for loads of people, it’s hell out there. People are dying, people are struggling, people are scared and lonely and desperate. I realise how fortunate I am to be in a house with a wide selection of stuff to do, plenty of food in and, perhaps most importantly, a family who enjoy each other’s company.

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It’s my son’s 16th birthday in two weeks. Before all this started, we’d been having long discussions about how we would celebrate. He was going to go out with his mates and do their usual Saturday muck-about: going to the indoor climbing centre, eating McDonald's and talking utter shite at each other. But the day after his final GCSE, our lad and his dad were going on a boys’ trip to a video games convention. It was a birthday present and GCSE hard-work-reward present all in one. I was going to stay at home with the dogs. A good portion of the trip would be dedicated to nerdy goings-on so I was happy to opt out. Obviously, it’s all cancelled – we haven’t even attempted the refund battle as yet – but what now? How do you mark a milestone birthday in what will be week four of our lockdown? No, I’m actually asking. Any ideas?

Removed from world of FE

I’ll be honest. I’m finding it hard to engage with the world of FE in any real sense at the moment. My community classes have been cancelled altogether and my college classes are almost all adults’ short courses, so I’ve little to do from a teaching perspective. While I don’t have much to add to the FE discourse, it’s brilliant to carry on chatting with FE pals on Twitter and the conversation seems to have veered towards films. It seems I am even more flippantly disapproving than even I suspected. People have been sharing their favourite film in a gif and without so much as a whiff of expertise, I am judging. It’s a new hobby. Oh who am I kidding, it’s an old hobby – I was judging before I could walk.

Grease? Good songs. Crap message: you are unlovable, change everything about yourself. No.

Pretty Woman? Snail flicking japes with a poverty-stricken sex worker? Absolutely not.

Harry Potter? The books are better. End of.

James Bond? Hang on… Sean Connery as James Bond? Excuse me, I don’t think you read the question properly… What? As a favourite film? What’s wrong with people?

But then I shared that Jaws is my first choice and people may question my film taste. A lurking terror with a massive gob. Why I am drawn to such a story?


Right. I’m off to do my jigsaw and make something delicious out of out-of-date dried goods.

Sarah Simons works in colleges and adult community education in the East Midlands and is the director of UKFEchat. She tweets @MrsSarahSimons

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