A Year in Review – The Great Realisation
As this tumultuous and trying year draws to a close I, like many, find myself reflecting on those aspects of the year that have led to unexpected realisations. As a teacher, who has pivoted her career from planning traditional lessons for conventional classrooms to designing an educational mentorship programme drawing on personal insights and experiences, I am struck that the skills which I foreground and work on with pre-teen girls are the very ones I have leaned on most over the year.
I dedicate much of my programme toward those key areas of development which I felt young teen girls are in greatest need of in order to navigate that tricky time of adolescence. At no point at the start of the year, did I believe I would be looking so deeply within for the self-same superpowers in order to get through 2020 myself.
I maintained the confidence in medical experts to develop the vaccines necessary to bring the pandemic under control. I also became completely transfixed by stories of kindness among the communities, care for elderly neighbours and other vulnerable parts of society, the dedication of front-line workers who have put themselves at risk for the continuation of vital services. The resilience shown by delivery drivers, supermarket workers and so many others who have shown up to work each day to ensure the availability of food and other supplies has genuinely astonished me. The empathy colleagues are showing one another and the courage many are exhibiting to speak up and share some of their most vulnerable stories with others feels novel and heart-warming.
We have benefitted at this time from ‘big’ innovation in medicine and communication but also ‘small’ innovation. We have adapted to virtual fitness classes, music lessons, coaching sessions and dance parties and concerts, highlighting the importance (and availability) of having a ‘plan b’ and never giving up on life, love and most of all hope. Above all, I have learned that not only are the skills that I focus on as part of my work with pre-teen girls a well that we continually draw from but that my students are a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to me. I have witnessed their will power to address huge life changes ranging from parents getting divorced, the financial security of households under threat or the distress of their grandparents suffering from covid-19. In all of these circumstances, their bravery has left me beyond hopeful for our future.