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Park Epiphanies

Since the days are getting a little lighter I’ve started walking round the park early again. It is nice to be out in the quiet. I watch out and listen to the birds, and mouch around. 1st lockdown I even kept bird notes.

I am in a pretty good place compared to many others in lockdown. I’ve got a job and am very supported to deal with the stress and strain of online teaching. So I can’t complain.

On Thursday I was walking round . I started to think about a questionnaire that I had to fill in the day before around the teaching I’ve been doing. On question in particular was bugging me. Something like **are you meeting the needs of your learners via digital learning**?

This pulled me up short. It seemed far to complex a question to be answered in a one line input.

I was suddenly quite annoyed. In my head I started writing a blog post, answering the question and attacking it. Are we even meeting learner’s needs in normal times? Are we in a position to start to understand how to teach and learn online? Is using repurposed business tools, we are being recommended, the right way to do things?

My mind started racing and I became aware that it seemed to be speeding out of control. I didn’t seem to be able to stop. Round and round, angry. After a few panicky minutes I remembered a short breathing meditation.

In out,
Deep slow,
Calm ease,
Smile relax.

Thich Nhat Hanh

In a few minutes the racing stopped although I could still feel it waiting to take over. Walking round the rest of the park I kept my mind on my breath and calmed down. I could hear the speeding thoughts waiting just outside my head. The poem kept the racing at bay, slowly I felt calmer, looked around…

The next morning, again in the park, I was thinking about the amount of time working seems to be taking in my life now. I’ve not had a weekend where I’ve not spent hours working this year.
I am pretty inefficient at preparing for teaching at the best of times and lockdown has made that worse. Having to have a week’s work prepared for the start of the week is hard when you are an inefficient over thinker.

My plan has been to dodge away at the prep during the preceding week. This has not worked well. Thinking this through I went back to Monday. I saw the anxious feeling running along side my planning. I spend a lot of time feeling anxious about getting everything finished for Friday. This while trying to get things finished for Friday.

I then realised that if I just decided I’d be working a few hours each Saturday and Sunday till we get back to school I’d feel a lot less anxious. I am not sure why I hadn’t figured this out sooner. Over the weekend and the start of this week it seems to be working. I got more done at the weekend than I expected. I managed a couple of hours walking on Sunday morning and generally feel a bit more relaxed. I’ll see how this goes.