My Virtual School – zooming

30 April 2020. The day started with an RAF flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane to honour Captain Tom’s 100th birthday. No one knows how much he has raised for NHS charities. Every time I look it has gone up by another million pounds – £32m three hours ago. A good comment from him on seeing the planes ‘I am one of the few who saw those flown in anger.’

The timetable for next week’s virtual school activities has just been sent around. The calendar that everyone worked on for most of last term has been (mostly) thrown out of the window, but some regular slots remain. Geology have a field trip planned for Monday. I wait to see how that will pan out. The Library are running their regular poetry session on Monday and the reading group ‘Books and biscuits’ has morphed into ‘Pets and biscuits with the occasional book’. Very popular. One of the boys has adapted the online fitness  sessions from the Sports team into a reading challenge – press-ups, star jumps etc each with an appropriate read. The cake-baking challenge in D Social is going very well.

Last week the A Social 6.2s had their Leavers’ Dinner. A bitter-sweet session as it remains a moot point whether that year group will return to school before the end of the academic year. For some colleagues it is a bitter-sweet time as well – planning for retirement in July this is the last time they will teach and the first time they will teach in this way. Both invigorating and frustrating. Others are in their first year as probationary teachers – barely had time to get to grips with the classroom and now rising to the challenge on juggling online sessions.

Downtime is vital for all. Quizzes have become the latest zoom craze. We’ve been invited to four this week. This evening we could have been on zoom sessions with different groups for at least five hours – some of them simultaneously. The sixth form have now set up invitation sessions to chat over a beer in the JCR – with a photo of the bar supplied to put up as background for added authenticity. And at home a session with friends this evening that included one having her breakfast in New Zealand.

I saw a good meme: we isolate now so when we gather again no one is missing. A good thought to end the day.

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