Dear school staff everywhere,
You’ve made it. This has got to have been one of the most brutal and challenging terms in memory. Until recently though, it was hard to put our finger on why. The last few weeks have a significant sense of deja vu when compared to last year, but before that it was still exceedingly tough. Cumulative tiredness, decision fatigue, the sense of never being able to switch off – all of these were contributing factors, for sure. It feels like we’ve taken a battering physically, mentally and literally in the media. Anxieties over measures, cases, isolations, covering missed content and impending Ofsted inspections have done nothing to improve mood or morale.
Here we are, still standing. And we should stand triumphant at what has been achieved this term. There is so much to be proud of and so much to stand by and think that you have done an amazing job. The children are learning, they are in school. You’ve helped them learn whether they have been in school with you, or you’ve been providing work at home. For the third time you’ve taught them how to be with each other again, how to be a class again, you’ve given them the behaviours for learning again. They are making progress, and that’s because of what we have all managed to do this term, in the face of a challenging and worrying time for everyone.
Nobody really knows what January will hold. It seems uncertain, once again. There are things we can all be certain of though. You will do your best. You will make a difference. You will help children to be better, lesson by lesson, day by day and week by week. Whatever gets thrown at us, those things will remain as a constant, upholding the children and teams we work with. At a time when we have very little that we can seemingly rely on, we know that we can rely on each other.
And that is important.
Know that you aren’t alone in how you’re feeling. Know you aren’t alone in shedding tears or feeling overwhelmed. Know you aren’t alone in wanting to give up.
But also know, that just down the corridor, you’ve got a team of people waiting to help you, lift you up, support and protect you. As much as we look out for the kids, we look out for each other as well. It’s in our nature. We notice when people are down, we notice when people are on the edge and that’s when we step in. Community is vital to us thriving, and in a school it remains, even through restrictions, measures and mitigations. However far away it might feel, it is still there. A glimpse of light shining through the dark sky.
And finally, thank you. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for everything you will continue to do in the hardest and most difficult of circumstances. Thank you for your tireless work, for going above and beyond, for putting others first and most importantly, for being you and all of the wonderful things that brings with it. Don’t underestimate your impact, don’t underestimate your resilience and most of all, don’t underestimate yourself. You’re capable of more than you ever dreamed of.
Take time this holiday and relax, rest and refresh. You’ve earned it, you need it. Don’t feel guilty. DO what suits you – work if you need to, don’t if you don’t. But most of all celebrate. Celebrate what you’ve achieved this term. You might not see it, but plenty of others do. They see what you’ve done and they are proud of you. Be proud of yourself too.
While this is a lovely sentiment of teamwork and community, that is unfortunately not the case in all places, as I am more lonely in my building this year than I have ever been anywhere.
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