General CPD

Ten Lockdown Tips

We have now been in Lockdown for 8 weeks and every day is a learning curve. I thought I would share with you Ten Lockdown Tips to offer some support. I am sure like me you are just getting by one day at a time. It doesn’t hurt to reflect on things and think about how you might do tomorrow. How are you coping? What could you do better? Hopefully these Ten Lockdown Tips will help!

Ten Lockdown Tips

  1. Be Kind to yourself – you are doing a good job. I have to tell myself this regularly and try and keep believing it. It is so important that we look after ourselves and don’t constantly worry about all of this.
  2. You can’t do everything, just do your best. I have been feeling the weight of pressure as I look at what others are doing. But I can’t do everything can I. I can’t teach lessons online, teach my own kids and orchestra an online video! I love seeing what others are doing, but I have to keep myself in check.
  3. There is so much out there online, but make sure that you don’t get overwhelm or overwhelm your students. Pick what works for you and then go for it. Test software, worksheets and websites and see what might work best for your students. And if you want to see some of the things I have used then do check out my Corona Virus Blog.
  4. Don’t do it alone! I am a member of Music Teachers Association and I am so glad to be part of this body of teachers. They have weekly CPD Zoom sessions and there is so much support out there. I really do recommend joining as it is important to not do it on your own. They also have a great podcast which I thoroughly recommend. Why not also join a Facebook group, start a WhatsApp group, or just email a colleague. Isolation is tough and I worry about colleagues that are on their own navigating through this.
  5. Make sure you stop at the end of the day. Get out for that daily exercise and get away from the screen. It would be really tempting to just keep working and keep going, but you have to stop! I find cycling and running very helpful indeed!
  6. Be careful with email – it is a dangerous world. If you write too many then you will get replies and have to write even more! And maybe avoid asking students to email you too often, otherwise you will be drowning in emails. My school have been fantastic and aren’t sending too many!
  7. Mark the weekend – when Friday comes, remember that it is the Weekend! Open that bottle of wine, get out in the sunshine and make sure you can celebrate the end of the week!
  8. Spend time reflecting on what you are doing and what you are going to do when you return. It is a good idea to start thinking now so that things aren’t too stressful. Whilst our schools will plan the large scale return, we need to think about music. Extra Curricular Music in the new normal will be tough at first, but I am sure we can plan ways that will make it easier.
  9. Listen to Music as I think the new normal is going to rely on this. We do a lot of performing, composing and ensemble work in our departments. Some of that might change slightly and the focus might return to listening to music. The more we listen now, the more ideas we will have for pieces that we can use for group discussion. I am thinking that we might have listening groups who enjoying learning about music in a different way.
  10. Avoid the media, the debate and the frustrating discussions. I live with a teacher, and so you can imagine my wife and I talk about teaching a lot. This week we have stopped ourselves from doing this because it isn’t good for us. I would avoid too much media and focus on what you can do. There are plenty of people sorting things out for us. If you are on SLT then this might be tricky, but even then, you don’t need to add to this by getting into a twitter debate. I am still learning how to do all this, but it is a big tip from me!

No Easy Fix

When it comes to problems, this is a big one. We have not faced anything like this in our lifetimes. It is important to always remember this. We can easily get wrapped up in things and forget that the world over is experiencing this crisis. I am trying to keep this in mind, remembering that things will get back to normal and I am not in control of that.

I am in control of me and my family and can only do so much. But what I am doing will make a difference. The lessons I am teaching, the work I am setting, the emails I am sending. It will all make a difference. I can’t do any more, even though I want to. I don’t always have time to get everything in place, but I try. And I can’t control the future, so I am going to stop trying. I am worried about concerts, shows, ensembles and rehearsals. But I can’t worry. I can plan, think and come up with ideas, but then I need to just wait and see what happens.

Make This Day Great

And so I guess we just take each day at a time and work out how to Make This Day Great! What can you do today that will make things better. It might be getting some marking done or planning a new scheme of work. But it might also be listening to some music to get your mind into a new topic or scheme. You might need to listen to that podcast I mentioned, or join MTA! Maybe you need to contact someone on Facebook, or email me if you like. Maybe you need to go for a long walk, or call up a friend or colleague.

I am sure you know all this, but if we all aim to make each day Great and not worry too much, then hopefully we will get through this. We can’t control it all, but we can start with ourselves. I have learnt that I also can’t be in control of my students in the way I normally can. They are not in front of me and I have to just hope that they are coping and working well.

I am learning every day, and I hope that this blog as maybe made you think or given you a boost. I don’t think I have got it all right, in fact I know I have made loads of lockdown mistakes. But I didn’t train or plan for lockdown and I have never done it before, none of us have. So I think we can say that we have done our best!

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    1. Thanks! I am glad it has helped! Please do share with others! It is tough getting the balance, but it is possible.

  1. Excellent advice James. Thank you. You have shared how we all feel. Good look for the rest of the term. Keep in touch. Best wishes

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