Staying connected

So, I have had a really tough week – the wee man got sick, and we spent 3 nights in hospital in an isolation room as he had gastro (an interesting aside – Ollie was in a rotovirus vaccine trial group when he was born, he got sick Thursday, got a call Friday to say he was in the placebo group – and was hospitalised that day. Vaccinate your kids people, Rotovirus ain’t fun)

As I was sitting in the isolation room with my poor wee man asleep on my shoulder, my phone was beeping, I was talking to people, texting, reading the news, browsing twitter. I couldn’t help but think what it must have been like before technology… I felt lonely and isolated and I had a constant contact with the outside world. I can’t imagine doing that without a link – or worse, imagine the days it was expected for a Mother and Father to leave their child in the hospital and go home.

I was even able to help a student or two – last minute exam panic questions via e-mail were quite easily sorted – a couple of students even pxt in the question they were working on, which I could then pop into a OneNote – write over it, and then send the link back. Worked a treat. Something to distract me, them sorted, happy everyone.

But the whole experience did remind me that nothing beats face to face connections. I missed the facial expressions that give more meaning to a conversation. I missed hearing people breath (as silly/creepy as that sounds). I wish when I read a text, I could read it in their voice, but it is always mine (doesn’t anyone else have this – I count to 10 in some-one else’s voice in my head, but always read in mine) I missed the other body language cues, hand wavings, head shakings or nodings, sighs, shrugs, eye rolls and hair swishes. I missed the noise of a classroom – the chairs scrapping, doors opening and closing, glass breaking!!, bags getting rustled through, even pen on paper. My classroom is almost always a noisy place.

I missed people. I couldn’t wait to get back to school and being surrounded by people. My first day back was exhausting, lots of students, lots to catch up on, multiple explanations of my absence and even more thanks to the people that helped out while I was away. It was the seniors last day, so I ran around trying to catch my yr 11’s to say good luck, saw most of my football girls to say hi and bye too and got ribbed by the football boys for Nottingham Forests appalling performance.

So, as someone who is quietly but openly proud of her growing PLN, her growing connections in education and networks, it was a good reminder that the really important connections are the face to face ones. Without my students and my colleagues it would all be nothing. But I am very, very glad that when I was isolated physically, I still had my whole world of connections with me.

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