I love my various jobs.
I love performing – but that has been put on hold. It was a really hard day when concerts started to get cancelled. I was anxious, very low – and at one point physically sick. But it was the right thing to do in these times, and I understand that. We move on.
I also love music teaching. I love going into schools and seeing children discover the magic of music. It happens every day I teach, and I relish it. But today I don’t want to go to school. I am worried. If the Government, in all its wisdom, is closing cafes and bars and restaurants (don’t talk to me about the cruise ships…), why isn’t it closing schools?
I have heard all the arguments. The children of health-care workers. Yes, I’ve read that, or heard it. Endlessly. But at no point have I heard a teacher being interviewed about what they think. You know those people? The ones in the classrooms? The ones in a small room with 30 children? The ones dealing with the anxiety, the worry of the kids they see. The ones still trying to teach. I’ve not heard them speaking in the media.
The ones that I see are still trying to do their job. Amazingly so. They are cheerful, and trying to teach. They are encouraging hand-washing, and trying to get children to read by keeping away from them. They are not being paid any more than usual. They are not being helped in their shopping hours to try and get the things that are running out by the time they get to the shops.
But they aren’t having a good time. For this music teacher, I’m feeling it too. I see whole schools of children. SO many little people. And no, I can’t social distance. I can’t wipe down every instrument played after every music lesson. There isn’t time. I’m nervous.
Why is it that everything else can close, but not schools? And why is it, in all these discussions about school closures, EDUCATION HAS NOT BEEN TALKED ABOUT? ‘We don’t want to close schools because children need to learn?’ Rather than ‘We don’t want to close schools because of the parents that can’t look after children?’
I don’t have the answer. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision. I’ve heard a few good suggestions from teachers. But I don’t want to go to school today – and that feeling is rare. Very rare.