We have entered day 2 of the lockdown, and there is a welcome serenity about life, at least in my household. It has been wonderful to read stories of our staff and the connections they have been making with their students through google meet, google classroom, and the year 11 discord initiative. For the most part, these connections have been relatively seamless.
I have a wife who is working from home (not a teacher) and two university students (one rescued from a flatting situation and one from a university hall of residence), so everyone is online here for a portion of the day but we talk to each other, have coffee, listen to some music, watch a bit of TV (currently Seinfeld on TVNZ is popular in our house), have meals together, and then my wife and I go for a walk where it feels a little weird when people exaggerate the space between us and them as they pass. Despite that, everything does feel more relaxed. At night I’ve been able to re-engage with some non-school-related reading and of course trawl Netflix as I inevitably spend more time adding things to my list than actually watching them!
The city had a haunted feel to it as I drove to the supermarket this morning along deserted streets, and every natural sound felt more amplified as a calm, reassuring tone to me: everything will be alright but it will take time.
My mind then strayed to the words of Paul Simon in the Sound of Silence: “ … people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening …” and I wondered where we might get to at the end of this. He wrote these lyrics and this song to provoke discomfort at a time when many began to question mindless adherence to common thought expressed through our media and politics. It was a tumultuous time and perhaps we are living in that time again or perhaps we are just waking up to what was being said prophetically 50+ years ago. The Greta Thunberg inspired climate action marches have given voice to the concerns of many (I’d like to think the majority!) and COVID-19 will make us examine how we connect to each other and how we solve the problems for a future world. I am confident that we will reach these solutions in an inclusive way when we stop talking and start listening to each other more. Our challenge will be to elect politicians and have political systems that will enable our voice to be heard so that we really can do this together.
Ngā mihi nui, Dominic Killalea