What it’s like going back to school in corona times

This morning I came down the stairs, at 5:47am I hasten to add, and found my five year old dressed and ready for school.

Not only that, his breakfast had been eaten, his lunchbox packed into his bag and his two water bottles. His shoes were about to be put on and he was ready to head out of the door.

At five forty seven am.

The child, who last year, I had to drag out of bed, force his uniform on and drag him to the classroom door because he haaaaaaaaates school was ready and raring to go.

I think that says something on how much school has been missed.

back to school photo - two boys in school uniform and baby

And it really has been missed

By all of us. From my seven year old (well basically eight year old) to my five year old to me. The school I’ve been doing with them at home has been ok, but right about now they don’t want to hear me drone on, they’re sick of the sight of me, and quite frankly I am mummy rather than their teacher.

In short, they want to learn, at school, with their friends.

And I don’t blame them.

boy in school uniform

The lines have been blurred

These past six months the lines have been blurred, home has become school, play, everything to them. The literal centre of their universe. Here in Qatar we’ve pretty much been confined within the walls of our compound, and as it got too hot to take to the streets on our bikes, within the walls of our house.

It’s no wonder that they have had their moments, have been shouting and crying, have not wanted to learn.

Life has been totally flipped upside down for them.

And today one thing was given back to them.

School

The putting on of the uniform, getting their bags together, walking in through the gates and being ushered to their classroom by a teacher. Interacting with other people. Learning with other children around.

Yes it’s been very different, with no free flowing movement (much to my five year olds disgust) and temperature taking.

But it’s been school.

It’s back to “normal”.

And as my five year old said to me as I picked him up, it was still the funnest day ever.

two boys in school uniform and baby

The anxieties are there though

And not so much am I exposing my children to COVID-19, or will my children catch it because I can see the school are trying to make as safe an environment as possible for the kids.

But in terms of them. Starting a new school is daunting at the best of times, starting after you’ve been off for 6 months, in the middle of a pandemic, when only half your class is in and you have to stay socially distant? That’s not something I have ever face. Nor something I thought my children would face.

My worries now are are they finding friends, are they able to still speak to other children, is the class going to be as welcoming as I envisaged? Is their mental health, socialisation, friendship being nurtured while they are in the school environment? Are they happy? Panicked? Is watching those around them with masks and shields causing more damage? Inducing more fear.

And I know that worry is part of parenting. I’m also conscious that I am predisposed to anxiety after suffering from perinatal anxiety and I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill for them. But I can’t help but worry.

Today was the first day of school

The first day back to semi-normality. Of learning and progressing.

It was also the first day of a whole new set of worries. What school will look like tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.

But most importantly? Today was the day I tucked up two very happy little boys into bed who told me what a marvellous day they had and they were so glad to be back.

boy and mum cuddled up on the couch

Life goes on, we’re still learning to adjust, and the rainbow always follows the rain.

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