Blue and White Life Blood is Slowly Returning
The sun hadn’t yet risen on Monday morning when I removed myself from a warm bed to prepare for the beginning of another week. Strangely, leaving the cosy confines of blankets with an extraordinarily high “snuggle factor” was not difficult. Preparation complete, dressed and ready, the front door closes. “They’re back!” The thought infused itself as the doors to the car clunked and unlocked. “Not all of them but it’s a start”. The proposition lingered in the air through the long drive to school. “Online classes have opened up a new world, but it will be good to see smiling faces in face to face lessons again”. The idea solidified during the walk from the car park to the Edmund Rice Building and so the week began.
Eddies is beginning to wake up from a long sleep — more of a long nap really — its blue and white life blood is slowly returning. With posters promoting social spacing, hand hygiene and personal health awareness dotting the walls and hand sanitiser pump packs inhabiting rooms, classes are recommencing, face to face.
The return of Years 11 and 12 students marks a milestone in a journey that has for some been far too long, for others far too short but for all, a journey that has revealed something. New ways of working, learning and teaching have come to the fore. I was passing through the staff lunchroom just yesterday. Teachers sat — appropriately socially spaced — enthusiastically discussing how they shared the OneNote collaboration space to their class during a tutorial held over Microsoft Teams. I had several conversations with our Years 11 and 12 men. I discovered they had a new-found appreciation of each other and their teachers. They reflected in amazement at the engagement in classrooms since their return. The new way may be to supplement learning and clarify skills learned at home with workshops and tutorials at school. As a community we endeavour to remember the lessons of this time and employ them for the benefit our young men.
While this is a first step in a staged return, I appreciate we have had young men on campus for a number of weeks already, engaging in their own online learning. A task they have approached with persistence, good humour and commitment. At home young men will still be navigating with their parents and caregivers the rough seas of keeping motivated and on task. I am reminded of eating chocolate. The first bite is pretty good but after your fifth or sixth Mars Bar, it is not so much fun anymore. Keeping young men enthused and motivated is no easy task. I commend our parents and caregivers who have supported sons in this new educational landscape. There is, however, an end in sight. We look to our team reassembling over the next few weeks, to seeing the yard awash with young men in blue and white, various groups planted firmly in their traditional space and classrooms with lessons filled with happy, engaged young men ready to learn.
Ray Celegato, Principal