I have sat down to write a blog post every day for the last week but somehow nothing has actually made it to publication. I have started five, three on the same topic, but they all seem to fizzle out without really achieving anything. My brain is willing but somehow the ideas turn to mush as they hit the page
Talking to my students, it seems I'm not alone. Many of my hard-working, dedicated students are finding themselves behind with essays and coursework and are oddly unbothered about it. They are turning up at school and churning out what they must but the uncertainties of the past year have taken their toll: the question, "what's the point?" seems to hover over every homework task.
And it's not laziness or even apathy - it's the sense that we have all been stuck for a year, waiting for resolution with little control over the outcome. The powerlessness that has defined this pandemic has left us all feeling overwhelmed at the thought of taking control of our lives again. For students in exam years there is a false sense that even their results are now at the mercy of fate. This is the challenge that we all face over the next couple of months. Teachers are working exceptionally hard to create opportunities for evidence to support the most appropriate grades for students - it is a thankless and difficult task - and students (and their parents) now need to drag themselves from their torpor and embrace the work ethic that the exams would have demanded.
I say that like it's easy: it's not. But the trick is to take it a day at a time. We need to re-embrace the regularity and routine of school life (I know, I miss staying in my pyjamas all day too). Last week we were all exhausted and a little shell-shocked. This week, we need to start planning: what do you know about how assessment will work? What can you do to maximise your chances? What are your priorities? Think about the big picture: write down your thoughts, your worries, your questions - use Miro or Ayoa if you want. Make a to-do list and take a step back. How does it feel? Is it manageable? Terrifying? Incomprehensible? If it's scaring you then call on parents, teachers, friends, me and ask for help prioritising, timetabling and managing what you need to do.
Ultimately, despite the cancellation of exams, the expectations remain pretty much the same. You still need to be revising, practising and honing your techniques. This week is about rediscovering your mojo: next week we'll talk about setting it to work.