Two weeks into lockdown and the biggest battles of working from home are a) fathoming out what day of the week it is and b) debating whether it’s socially acceptable to do a video call in your pyjamas.
It’s been a fortnight of firsts. Never before have we, as staff, had to work this way. Never before have students been asked to rise to such a challenge. Never before has it been more important to be ‘the college in the community’.
All of us have worked tirelessly to ‘do our bit’. Whether that is us in the marketing team organising TV and radio interviews through Skype or curriculum teams coming up with ingenious ways of engaging with students to ensure their learning is as unaffected as possible during the current crisis, we find a way.
Who knew it was possible to connect to Google Classroom through an Xbox? Who could have predicted that music students would have been able to take part in a live interactive session with an industry star through Instagram? Who would have thought TikTok would become a vital learning tool for our Performing Arts team?
All of us are learning ‘on the job’ here and the college as a whole is rising to the challenge.
Our donation of hand sanitiser, masks and disposable gloves to a Kingsthorpe care home in desperate need of PPE equipment to protect its staff and residents, quite rightly, hit the headlines. Our food deliveries to Northampton Hope Centre are helping to feed some of the most vulnerable members of society. Our commitment to the community has never been stronger. We are truly ‘all in this together’.
We are continuing to adapt and evolve our working methods to make sure our students achieve the grades they deserve. It’s been heartening to hear so many stories of people going above and beyond to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum and it’s testimony to the dedication of our students that many are believed to be ‘ahead’ of their targets as they have used this time to really focus on their studies.
The work done in the background to allow us all to be so innovative, so visionary and so flexible in the way teaching is delivered should not be underestimated.
As ever, clear and effective communication is key to this and the successful implementation of Microsoft Teams has allowed us all to stay in touch and ensure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.
If nothing else, video conferencing is another string to add to our collective bow and has proved a great source of light relief at times – as staff battle with unruly pets and toddlers wanting a slice of the on-screen action!
As coronavirus tightens its grip on the country it’s reassuring that we are so well-placed as a college to keep on doing what we do best - inspiring students and ensuring we provide a work-ready generation of young people prepared to hit the ground running as and when we emerge from the current crisis. Keep on going. We’ve got this.