It’s April 2021. How has it been over a year since the UK’s first lockdown, to combat coronavirus? A lot has changed in that year – some big businesses have permanently shifted to working from home and schools have adapted to remote learning – twice. It’s been quite the journey, but hopefully one that’s starting to come to an end.
I’ve spent my time so differently over the duration of the three lockdowns. Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past year.
March 2020: ‘You must stay at home’
The day after Johnson announced that we must stay at home, my copy of Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch arrived. I’ve clocked in 110 hours or so, and it really is the game that got me through Lockdown #1. Never has a life simulator, where you setup and run your own island village, released at a more perfect time.
Alongside the endless gaming marathons, in which I cornered the stalk market by buying turnips at low prices and selling high, I also continued to support my second placement school by producing remote learning resources for them to post for students. My tutor at the University of Birmingham also set us work to continue to develop our pedagogies, despite placement having been cancelled. I treated every weekday like a work day, interspliced with playing badminton in our garden; we’d picked up a cheap set from Sainsbury’s, and it was the wildest time of our lives.
At least as wild as lockdowns permit.
Eventually, our tenancy was expiring, and society was reopening, so I took the opportunity to move home until it was time to return to Birmingham, ready to begin my stint as an NQT. By the end of the first Lockdown, I’d revived Hardly Hamilton with a fresh coat of paint – and I’ve been blogging every week since.
November 2020: Society shuts down
To prepare for the Christmas period, and to counter a supposed second wave, Johnson moved us once more into a lockdown, with all non-essentials to close, following the failure of the tiered system. Except it didn’t feel like a lockdown to me. Schools stayed open – despite kids asking every day about when they would close – and I carried on as normal. Really, the only difference was that I was no longer allowed into a gym.
That change didn’t really matter though. I’d been so busy readjusting to the pressures of a new job that I’d barely had time to lift weights since starting. So, I continued to use my teacher’s planner and Bullet Journal in tandem to plan and deliver lessons. I’d made the clever move of backlogging the blog through till December by the end of the summer, so I probably went about 3 months without actually writing for this website, yet its followers continued to grow.
January 2021: Scotland leads the way
I’ll never forget sitting at a desk in the school library, on an INSET Day after New Year, aghast at government plans to welcome children through our doors, in spite of various new variants spreading at astronomical rates in England. Then the news came from up North that Sturgeon was keeping society locked down, and by the evening, Johnson had followed suit.
We had already planned a phased return for students, so my resources were good-to-go for the next couple of days already.
I then spent the next few weeks adjusting to teaching from home. I delivered a few virtual parent’s evenings from my bedroom and thought hard about the technology that I wanted to support me for the rest of lockdown, before reflecting on how the process went in the run-up to returning to work. My days involved working from roughly 7:30-4:30 each day, taking about half an hour for lunch and delivering a mixture of remote learning with live lessons. The evenings were reserved for chilling out, working out, and going out, whether for walks or runs.
We went through a Louis Theroux phase, before re-watching a few Marvel films and have recently picked up Peaky Blinders for the first time. Personally, I blitzed through the first few seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Community, and have found myself onto Parks and Recreation. It’s so much fun getting to watch an episode or two as soon as I get home from work, or while doing the dishes and other menial tasks.
I also took to speed listening to audiobooks and podcasts in a big way, smashing my way through so much reading. While I may have slowed down since returning to work, having previously stuck something on in the mornings where I may have laboured more with getting ready, since I was suddenly without a commute and no longer needed a daily walk, my goal to read 25 books this year certainly hasn’t changed. I’ve also started drinking herbal teas – to cut down on coffee intake but to still guarantee that I can enjoy hot drinks later in the day.
Overall, the third lockdown has been the most productive and life-altering for me. I’ve made lots of positive lifestyle changes and, since returning to school, feel that I’m working smarter. I’m spending less time on site when I don’t need to be there – opting instead to work from home at the end of the day – and I’m getting a little more sleep, so getting into the building later on in the day. Still, who isn’t looking forward to June 21st?
How did your time in Lockdown change?