My Virtual School – rain with cuckoos

29 April 2020. My first invitation to record myself singing to be synced via Zoom for May Day madrigals. May keep the sound switched off. Or the camera. But still – part of the Zoom musical world! It’s great to get the full lock-down experience. I watched a friend, a professional sax player, performing a septet for trombone on his collection of saxes. Awesome. We have all got too much time on our hands.

At school, Zoom and Microsoft teams are enabling some innovative sessions beyond standard lessons. The Physics Dept have had boys dropping eggs for experiments. Some concern about not wasting eggs in these hard times, but one boy reported back that he has 30 chickens so should be OK. Another boy is sharing hidden camera footage of wildlife in his garden. One colleague has got his form cooking together. They are using Raymond Blanc’s cookbook – 4 15 year old boys and a teacher simultaneously cooking fish and then eating lunch together. Food seems to be the way to go for Geology as well – good thing everyone is baking. Drama and Music have got rehearsals for the school musical going – more of those videoed performances to be synced. And the 1.15 Wednesday lunchtime concerts are now on their second week. Yesterday a charity quiz-night for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust – set up to provide support around depression in teenage boys.

I saw a question on Twitter whether independent schools would be back to full school life before the state sector. Clearly whoever asked that hasn’t been following. Post-Social Prayers drinks this evening and the general feeling was they might never get us back into the classroom. Apart from the eye-strain, back-ache, concentration levels…

Two days of rain has dampened everyone’s enthusiasm. But husband came back excited from a walk with the dog along the Thames Path: three cuckoos calling to each other – a shuttle of spring sound back and forth across the river.

This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community,  to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

© Clare Sargent