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Mr Humphries' Isolation Diaries - Week 2

It’s 10:12am on Friday 3rd April. Usually I’d be on one of those mad dashes back through the hall after a brief comfort break (inadvertently interrupting a LAMDA rehearsal) in order to greet the next batch of malleable young minds. Instead, I’m in bed brushing toast crumbs from my pyjama jacket onto my Thomas the Tank Engine bed spread. Is my routine slipping?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where week one ended and week two began but I’m sure I am not the only one who might have found it a challenge to maintain as sturdy a routine as I kicked off with. Fearing a drop in my standards, I have decided to watch this video each morning: I think you’ll agree, it’s pretty sound advice, besides the bit about going to school of course. Oh, and maybe combing my hair…

Now, those of you who have read any of my writing before, you might be aware that I sometimes veer from the truth and yes, you might have noticed that the above description is a touch fictitious. That’s right, I don’t eat toast! And, I have in fact been working quite hard to maintain a positive routine in my working day.

I know you might think teachers are sadistic peddlers of tedious tasks but I do not actually log onto Show My Homework with my first waking breath. The three Cs of Cheerios, coffee and chatting with my flatmate have got my days off to a flier. After he tidies away my breakfast, it’s time to get to work. I do my usual rounds of email and Show My Homework and make a list of a few things to achieve that day and look forward to the feeling of ticking them off as the day progresses. This does all occur before 9am AND when I’ve left Thomas and friends behind; getting out of bed and dressed is not optional. If you’ve been struggling or feeling the wrath of parents, maybe this pretty simple advice might work for you, minus treating co-habitants like servants.

Then, I spend the next eight hours literally chained to my laptop! Like Pavlov’s dog, I respond to every single ping, ding and bing within milliseconds. At 5pm, I ask for the key, shut the laptop and gear up for the very same thing the next day.

Okay, okaaaaaay... you’ve caught me red-handed (though that’s probably due to all the hand washing). I have tinkered with the truth again and in fact was describing the exact opposite to what we should be doing for comic effect! Silly me!

Whilst I do my best to tick everything off of my list before the day is done, flexibility is key. One of the handy things about this whole situation is that you can forget the idiosyncratic SGS timetable. You don’t need to be online at 9:26 for lesson 2! Be proactive and productive but ensure you have relaxing breaks. Remember though, a break should be a smaller portion of time than the main activity itself. Hour-long breaks in between 15 minute tasks is counter-productive. On my breaks I have been reading, running, destroying my flatmate at Fifa, making quizzes, playing Mölkky (Google it), ringing my mum or FaceTiming Mr Marsh (I know I said breaks should be relaxing…) But most importantly, after all this I shut down my laptop each day feeling like I’ve had a varied diet of mental stimulation and that I’ve achieved the goals I’d set out to. I can put my feet up and enjoy liquid refreshment feeling proud of my efforts. I hope you can too.

Having said all this, you’ve now got two weeks off. I hope you have a peaceful break but that you stay busy enough to ensure that your brain has not decomposed into a useless pink mush come 21st April. So, lastly, I leave you with for some Only Connect inspired brain training and check out the free books recently made available on the Kindle book store. As Dickens once said, a book a day keeps social distancing all ‘yay’!

Keep faith

Mr Humphries

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