Back-to-School

We are really looking forward to seeing you all at school on Monday (including those who visited tourist hot spots for the Tomb Sweeping weekend  two weeks ago). We cannot wait to go back to “traditional”, live teaching – a simple concept that we have all missed: a teacher, students, an assistant, a classroom – a method that we now realise we were taking a bit too much for granted.

The news that we have been receiving lately has not always been good. Between the announcement that TES was closing for a 5th week, which caused a great deal of stress and unhappiness within the community, to the discouraging fact that the national exams are being radically revised, from the increase in school fees for the coming school year, to the cancellation of so many projects and events that we love – all in the context of a global health crisis rife with uncertainty – well, to put it plainly, we haven’t had much to celebrate in recent weeks.

We are therefore eagerly awaiting the return of the students to school on Monday morning. It will be a welcome breath of fresh air that we will savour (from beneath our masks). I know that parents will be equally happy to entrust us with their children after an additional, unexpected  week of learning from home that was decided on as a preventive measure in case of community spread following the Qingming festivities. As for the teachers, believe me, they cannot wait to get their students back in the classroom again.

While our students are pouring through the gates on Monday, I will be thinking of all my colleagues around the world who do not have the same luck as we do, whose schools remain closed, some for more than 10 weeks now, others knowing that their schools will not reopen until at least September. I will have my fingers firmly crossed, will be touching wood, circling ladders and avoiding all black cats….

I don’t usually go in for superstitious beliefs, but I will be invoking them all in the hope that school closure is now well and truly behind us and that we will be able to work without any further interruption until the end of the school year. It will have been an unforgettable year, one in which we acquired new terms such as “social distancing,” “ flattening the curve,” “mitigating the risks” (and certain others that are better kept out of children’s earshot, used when describing our experiences getting to grips with Zoom and Google Meet.)

We will have to remain vigilant, which is why TES has put in place a number of security measures in coordination with the Taiwanese authorities, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Everyone’s health and safety is at stake and I would be grateful if we all respect the new rules to the fullest of our ability: we risk nothing by following them.

Thank you all for the huge collective task you have undertaken. Your commitment, your involvement and your resilience over the past few weeks have been impressive. It is during these complicated moments that we learn the most about ourselves and who we are – and you should all be very proud of who you are.

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