A bug has landed in the house and twin1 is laid low with sickness and the rest of us are laid low with cleaning up after the effects. He’ll stay home from school today, with the added effect that G. will also have to stay home. There’s a five minute period in the morning where we’re open to scheduling conflicts and it means that sometimes we get stuck like this: the boys’s preschool starts at 8:45. An adult must wait with them until this time. My classes start at 8:50, but it takes me ten minutes to get from their school to mine – and there’s the five minute window of doom. So, because G. would need to walk twin2 to school, that would necessitate leaving twin1 alone in the house (albeit only for 5 – 10 minutes) but that’s too long to risk.
Anyway, it’s hard to feel 100% sure that twin2 is not about to come down with the same thing himself.
The school week is back to “normal” this week with the return of 5th years to class, but it’s also “Wellbeing Week” and so it’s stuffed full of activities designed to promote the students’ (and occasionally, as an afterthought, the staff’s) wellbeing. I’m a member of the ridiculously large committee involved in this, and it is definitely a bit draining in terms of time and energy, but I also have some other thoughts and issues around it.
I think we do too much for the students. Look, I’m not against us, as a school, as teachers, as individuals or whatever, doing some nice things for the students. My issue is that we provide all these activities and it’s coming across a bit like we’re entertaining them, like we’re throwing some kind of extended party for them this week. And the result is not always the one that’s hoped for. A lot of the time what it results in is ingratitude and the lack of desire to do any work for themselves.
Wellbeing – or, I guess, that fun phrase “well-becoming” has to be about developing them as individuals. There has to be more coming from the students themselves. They should be the ones researching the speakers they want to come in, clearing it with the appropriate people in management in the school, and writing and inviting those speakers. Possibly they should even be fundraising amongst themselves in order to pay those speakers. The school should be there to vet the speaker, help point them in the direction of the right contacts, help with timetabling and possibly matching funding contributions.
Everything else we’re doing could just as easily be driven by the students. Why is it one of the home-ec teachers who has organised a healthy-eating campaign and sponsored fruit-cups for the whole school? Why was I the one spending hours putting together playlists for a silent disco (and having to chase students for their requests and then having to veto half of them)?
It’s something I will bring up at the review. Maybe the next stages of work for us as a committee will be to examine the existing structures, maybe create new ones, so that the students can take more responsibility for requesting permission and organising appropriate things for themselves.
One of the obvious things to me is their physical environment and how badly they treat it. They laugh when I ask – in all seriousness – would they drop an apple core on the floor at home? Every single classroom seems to have food on the floor after lunch, and they will then complain that the place is “disgusting”. It is! But whose fault is that? Whose responsibility?
So yeah, I think there are probably things we can do to enable them a little more surrounding that, but maybe it starts with not accepting a messy environment; books and papers on the floor, desks misaligned, shoddy posture, etc.
Look at me becoming pro a kind of regimented atmosphere. And yet, I think maybe it’s necessary as part of looking after themselves, and part of taking pride in their environment and even their own presence in the world.
Well, I went on about that for rather longer than I had intended, but it’s kind of been bothering me. Meanwhile, back at my own home, the mess and clutter is of the type that I might refuse to teach in. It certainly saps some of my own desire to work – so! I know what I’m talking about here!
But for right now I know that I’m just about doing all that I can. I also know it’s not enough, and I’m feeling the stress and strain of not getting through my to-do list.
Time to set some priorities for the day.