You know my expectations are always high but a modern day King Lear might be a step too far. If you were due to sit GCSE or A Level exams in a few weeks, you may be feeling a bit lost. I get that. Even last week your teachers may have been setting you work to complete before there was publication on Friday of the mechanism for teacher assessment.
You may well find that your school gives you the opportunity to sit some semi-formal open book assessments to mark the end of your GCSE and A Level courses. They may well get you started on preparing for your A Level or degree courses.
But what if you’re still at a loose end? What happens over the next few days and weeks?
First have a break. Be kind to yourself. Take stock.
Then get stuck into a new project.
If there is a last hurrah of GCSE and A Level type assessments you’ll be sent details over the next few days. I’ll be working on a preparation package for my GCSE students who are intending to study English at A Level. In the meantime, why not try these challenges, shared by the school my own children attend and slightly reimagined by me? Even your parents might like to join in.
Wouldn’t we all love to pop up a mountain like Julie Andrews on a day like this? There has been a lot of talk in the press and on social media about people breaking the lockdown and the social distance rules, getting out an about in the glorious weather this weekend. It won’t surprise you to hear that much of the criticism is levelled at young people. Hardly fair.
My own daughter is bemoaning the fact that we can’t do our usual picnic and jaunt round Stourhead on Palm Sunday today.
Another friend who was planning a family trip to New York and Washington over the Easter hols has come up with an ingenious way of going on their trip. Their entire itinerary (all first class of course) is posted online from their settee. Museums, art galleries, monuments, even restaurants and shops are posting virtual tours online and these are going up for us all to share in the trip with them, along with one or two photoshopped prints. Yesterday they rode down fifth avenue in a pink limousine. Like I said, boredom fosters creativity.
How you cope with the strange world we are now living in is up to you. Where are you on this diagram? I’m in the learning zone heading straight towards growth.
Most Thursday nights I’m either watching my daughter play netball, in rehearsal for a play or catching up on my marking. Last night I sat down with a glass of wine and watched a live theatre production streamed to my pc – One Man, Two Guvnors – which I hadn’t found time or money to see before. What a treat. Next Thursday it’s the National Theatre’s innovative production of Jane Eyre, another one I had wanted to see but couldn’t at the time. (Blocked by a marking avalanche, I expect!)
Lockdown is not all bad.
There are umpteen opportunities whilst we are on an enforced absence from school that will make me a better teacher and you more independent and resourceful students.
I’ve done more reading and signed up for some free on-line courses on approaches to teaching drama and poetry and one about how we learn. Things I wouldn’t have had the headspace to research or follow a few weeks ago. I’m teaching my middle son to cook before he heads off to Uni (we hope) in the Autumn and my days have a new rhythm – work until early afternoon, then doing exercise or chores around the house and garden. In the evening I embark on something creative.
I hope by now you have found a new rhythm of life too. For GCSE and A Level students there’s a little more clarity about how your grades will be calculated and hopefully the ability to relax, move on and set yourself up for a fresh start in sixth form, college or University in the Autumn.
Boredom breeds creativity. Being stuck at home is a real chance to develop your creative abilities, a skill which employers rate highly and feel is in decline in job applicants. It said so in today’s press. And while you shouldn’t believe everything one reads in the newspapers on this one they can be trusted.