‘My step count went down, one day I realised I’d only done one hundred steps because I’d been sitting behind my desk all day and not walking around the school.'

‘What were your initial reactions when we went into lockdown?’ I looked up at my mother, Melanie Wright, curiously from my laptop. She paused and thought hesitantly for a moment. ‘Interestingly, the biggest thing was that all teachers had to upskill themselves to deal with remote learning within 24 hours’, I cocked my head to the side thoughtfully, I suppose I had never really appreciated that it wasn’t just students that had had to adapt and morph themselves into tech-savvy teens overnight. ‘We all had to be a certain level very, very quickly’, my mother responded.

‘Trying to find inventive ways to deliver lessons via computer is very difficult, thinking outside the box and adapting tasks’, I eagerly agreed as she went on to eloquently explain that even when accustomed to online teaching one vital hurdle was not easily overcome – ‘although you can deliver a lesson by computer what you do miss is the social interaction that often makes the classroom. As a teacher, you can’t read body language of social cues on the computer so it’s easy for children to get lost or left behind when they’re sitting behind a screen.’ This I could easily empathise with, even for students, the ambient bantering softly simmering within a classroom is an aspect that went so underappreciated until the only thing you could hear in online lessons was the muffled droning of one of your family members speaking into another computer microphone in the room next door.

‘My step count went down’, my mother continued, chuckling tenderly, ‘one day I realised I’d only done one hundred steps because I’d been sitting behind my desk all day and not walking around the school.’ Perhaps there have been some positives, though, ‘every cloud’ as my mother would most definitely say, she explained that ‘it forced us to re-evaluate how we delivered school, for example, parents evenings, which are far more likely to now happen via Zoom or Teams because times was better, more effective, more efficient’ – as technology is supposed to be, I might add.

‘What about coming back to school?’ I nagged. ‘The challenge coming out of lockdown is coming back from the reliance of computers and Teams and actually not using that so much in the classroom now, which is difficult because we’ve all kind of made it our default’, I hummed in agreement with a newfound appreciation for my mother and other teachers like her but not without mentally concluding that flexibility and adaptability have not been traits taught in schools to my generation or my mum’s, perhaps, next time, that’s a more efficient way to change education for the better.