As I drive through the gates of Cedarwood School joining the queue of cars waiting to be screened, while everyone is patiently following the new COVID-19 school procedure, a million thoughts are rushing around my head, “Quick, put my mask on”, “I need to print my work”, “sanitise hands”, “remember the kid’s bathroom routine times”, “sanitise hands”,” there’s a meeting after school”, “remember to tell the kids to sit inside their block at break”, “sanitise hands”, “this is so stressful”, “sanitise hands”, “oh no I forgot I was on duty”, HAVE I SANITISED MY HANDS?!”
“Yes, I’m through the school gates and raring to go.”
The teachers at Cedarwood School are in full teaching mode, worrying about keeping the kids safe and at the same time meeting every academic requirement. It is stressful but worth it, the positive impact they have on the children they teach is indescribable. Teaching nowadays comes with a host of new worries and teachers are concerned about the stress the children must be under and how scary this new world must seem to them.
If you stop worrying for a moment and just watch the kids at Cedarwood you will see how truly resilient they are. Their happy smiley faces and their contagious laughter are all you need to make your day. I take a moment to watch them as they bravely take on what we are now calling our “new normal”. I marvel at their strength and positive mindset. As I watch them, I wonder what a day at Cedarwood School must look like through their eyes.
I notice that the children do not see the teachers and staff stressing about all the protocols taking place behind the scenes, but rather they know everyone is doing all they can to make school a safe place to be during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The children don’t see their teachers working all hour’s day and night to make sure they can teach both the children at school as well as those that are working online. Regardless of where the children are, teachers need to ensure everyone has what they need to meet the daily academic requirements. What the children see are the fantastic, colourful and exciting lessons that they get to be a part of every day.
Thankfully the children do not see the teachers stressing about COVID-19, but rather the bubbly and welcoming person who is excited to see them every morning. They do not know about what happens behind the scenes, the curriculum and educator development meetings they attend and all the work that only starts after they have left school for the day. Instead, they see the most amazing person giving them the best education, showing up and doing their best every day.
Yesterday as I stood watching the children at break time, monitoring their social distancing and whether they stay in their assigned spaces, I noticed something magical. Not only were the children smiling and laughing, but they were also having fun! Having fun, you might ask? In an assigned space where you cannot interact with your friends or kick a soccer ball around? Yes, having fun! The children have developed a new love for conversation, not just any ordinary conversation but conversations about life. The children have found ways to play together without compromising social distancing and keeping safe through this crazy pandemic. It is as if technology has melted away and the love of natural play has been reborn.
A day at Cedarwood School is filled with fun and magic. Through the creative lessons of art, coding in IT, dancing to happy music and working up a healthy sweat during PE, the children embrace every moment of their day with no fear. The children at Cedarwood school are the role models. The children are the ones showing the teachers what it means to love without boundaries and live each moment to the fullest.
To all the educators out there, as difficult and absurd as this time is in education, never forget that by doing what you love you inspire others and awaken the hearts of others. Take a moment and truly see what Cedarwood School stands for. Take a moment and see the day through the eyes of a child, it is filled with magic and full of wonder.
By Shakira Beecroft