Teaching amid the Covid-19

The last few weeks have been surreal, the last few days have been chaos in my head. I am a secondary school teacher in a school that has 2,000 people on campus – one of the biggest schools in Sydney, Australia. My own son goes to this school.

Two weeks ago we put my elderly mum in lock-down since we were told that she was high risk. This was a huge learning curve for her because at 83 she is usually out and about everyday socializing.

With that done I could concentrate on my family and school. I am lucky that my husband is at home courtesy of a job loss in October. So, he has taken over all the household things. He is the “hunter and gatherer” and is seeing us through the supermarket craziness. I am lucky that he is a great cook who can make something out of anything.

I am normally a very positive person, but this crisis brought me to tears. I figured out that it was seeing the utter selfishness in people and the disgusting human behavior that came about. Last Wednesday was my fall apart day. I was told not to whine by many on social media when I voiced my fear for myself and my family because I was in front of so many kids every day. Australian schools had no masks, no sanitizer and no soap and hand washing abilities. That night I found a Facebook page called “The Kindness Pandemic” and soon I felt better. Stories of people doing good lifted my spirits.

I was still so worried for my son and family, but was happy to do my part and provide education for the kids whose parents were stuck or had medical jobs. Then the news came that we were to move to online learning. I learned things in a week that would normally take me months. At school I was planning for face-to-face and remote learning. Lessons were filled with chaos and I received 307 emails in one day!

Today was a good day, I found myself in awe of my fellow colleagues as we all banded together to get through this. I saw my Principal walk out and talk to staff and students with kindness and compassion. As I put the students minds at ease in my care, I found it difficult to calm my own son’s anxiety over the situation. He is a senior doing final exams this year, but in my heart I know we would be OK.

As I type this tonight, I find myself tearing up, maybe from exhaustion. I find myself thinking of the medical staff who are about to have turmoil even more chaotic than mine. But tonight, I choose to believe that people are kind and even though the media has shown us in all our ugliness, I believe that the good in this world will prevail.

We will be isolating ourselves in the next few days and will only be going out for what is essential. I am choosing to see this as a pause, as time with my family. When it is all over, I will choose to remember the good in people rather than the bad.

Stay safe my kind friends.

Laurainne Marshall (AKA Lo) lives in Sydney, Australia with her 2 kids, Hayley and Jamie, and her soul mate of over 30 years, Graham. Their furbaby is a beautiful Groodle  named Jarrah.
Laurainne has many roles - Wife, Mother, Teacher and Musician. She believes that life is to be lived at full throttle and is deeply spiritual. Her motto is “Grab life and run.” She also believes one person can make a difference in this world and hopes that by sharing her life experiences, she might inspire a few people along the way.
When she is not teaching through the week, you can find Lo belting out 80s hits in her band Soundproofed. You can follow the band on Facebook.

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