With Crisis Comes Opportunity!

‘With Crisis Comes Opportunity!’ This was the subject line of one of many emails I have received from businesses who are, understandably, trying every angle to make some money or even survive during this lockdown period. But what opportunities has the lockdown brought us? The opportunity to eat far too many biscuits? The opportunity to perfect our bread making skills? The opportunity for my grandson to stay here so long long that he has learned to climb on to the kitchen table? Trying to find the positives can be difficult. This particular email was from a company that wanted to capitalise on the extensive use we have made of online teaching and the success that we have had. And they are right. We have learned how to use online teaching well and there are aspects of it that will continue to enrich our practice from now on. In some ways, then, this crisis has been a learning opportunity.

But is it right to try to gain advantage from or be positive about a situation that has left so many bereaved and others confined to the house or still unwell? There are many, many people in financial hardship too, or lonely, or in despair. And the fact that this is a world pandemic, although clear, is easily forgotten in our concern for our borders and our own individual health. In Chad, where my son and eldest Old Clayesmorian child is working, Covid19 is one of many life-threatening diseases; for some people lockdown might mean risking starvation and there are only a handful of ventilators in the capital city. 

(Feature image:  OC Henry Bailey, Chef de Projet at Sahara Conservation Fund in Chad,  with the local women celebrating International Women’s Day before the COVID 19 crisis.)

Nevertheless, I am sure it is right to try to meet this crisis with positivity, not to profit from other people’s misfortunes, but in order to look after our families and ourselves. We have all had to dig deep and to find so many inventive ways of making the best of this very serious period of our lives. I am not going to pay those people with the exciting With Crisis Comes alliteration, but I am very much focused on looking for ways we can help students to find real positives from the experience when they return to school in September.

Students have shown remarkable resilience in their approach to remote teaching and online learning. Some have struggled, but they have stuck with it – and, as I was telling my Y10 class this morning, we could not be more proud. Staff have been inventive and skilful in trying to make the online world an interesting one, and, although it must sometimes seem interminable, students have hung on in there and often made significant progress.

Yet, during this Lockdown period, these young people will have experienced an unprecedented loss of freedom as well as isolation from friends and from other people who are important to them. Some may have lost a relative to the virus and most will have felt anxious and frightened at times. There is no doubt that this period will be one of the defining experiences of the lives of this generation of Clayesmorians and we need to do all we can to build on the positives, maintain the resilience that has sustained them and help them to look forward to the future.

We are so much looking forward to being together as a school community in September, but there is no doubt that some things will have changed. Change can seem a bit daunting, but it needn’t be. The key is not to be frightened of change but to work out how we can make the change good and consider what opportunities it presents for us. A lot of staff have observed that the students have found reserves in themselves they didn’t know they had. They have seen students thinking  independently, making decisions and showing a greater concern and curiosity about issues outside their immediate experience. This is great to hear and I am confident that when the community comes back together, it will be with a sense of pride in the way we have coped, but also with a new determination to do things well, to look after each other as a community and, importantly, to seize on opportunities to make the world a better place.  


Mary’s grandson has taken a lockdown learning opportunity to hone his table-climbing skills!