My Virtual School – making hay

14 May 2020. Farming never stops. In the field by Sugworth Lane the first shoots of the new crop are glowing green. Catching the sunlight in curving lines across the ground. Yesterday the hay was being cut in the fields next to Cheesers. So the dog on his lead along the footpath to keep him away from the tractor and mowers – and no chance of running through the long grass and flowers. A man and his small son were out photographing the arc of mown grass as it flew high into the air to land in the cart. An ancient sight mechanised.

Anger among teachers at suggestions in the media that schools are closed and teaching has stopped. A colleague posted his teaching for Wednesday this week:

Today, my easiest day in 9 days, I’ve taught a 90 min seminar on origins of Western Philosophy, a Year 9 poetry test lesson, a Year 12 Lear lesson, attended a seminar on Austen, written 38 reports, met my tutor group+dealt with several issues arising,+had a staff meeting. I’ve taught 90 minutes on postmodernism, 90 on the origins of the novel, + lessons on Miller, Shakespeare, +writing, +marked 15 essays with another 60+to mark. Since Tuesday. It’s lucky I, like other teachers, am ‘not working’ right now. Not sure I’d have the time to do my job.

Tonight, the Ferguson Singing Prize – both live-streamed and a highlights programme for those who don’t have 2 hours straight screen time. And let’s not forget another essential worker superhero of our school – the video unit team (mostly just Max!) constantly producing high quality output from zoom meetings or on site interviews. Vital parts of keeping the school in touch with its community.

That community donated more than 500 items to the Abingdon Food Bank last week, including supplies from the Catering Dept. Back in March the fresh produce that would not be used after all the holiday activities and lets were cancelled was sent to the Abingdon Fridge – good use being made of that facility by many around the town.

The sound of our walks has changed. In March the bare branches of the trees were knocking together with a constant crack and crash. Now all the leaves are unfurled and we walk to the sound of their rustling.

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