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Random Thoughts and Reflections - by Conny Brandt

As the school year draws to a close and it looks like we may actually be able to draw (distanced, masked!) breath over the summer, I have been reflecting on the thoughts and realisations that this period of crisis has brought:

1. I love my job

This is not something new – I love being an SBM. However, I have realised that if there has to be a crisis, then this is the job I want to do: to be part of the team that works on the response, that develops a plan, that takes action. Despite the added stress, added workload and added responsibility, I would have found the situation much harder to deal with if I had had to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to sort it.

2. Crisis plans aren’t helpful but crisis planning is

Prior to the pandemic, I put a lot of time and effort into developing the school’s business continuity plan and crisis management plan. So did I use our plans? Well no actually – they just weren’t applicable. I had planned for the apparently more likely local issues like fire, floods and traffic accidents, not for a global pandemic. Having said that, having gone through the process of crisis planning definitely helped. While I didn’t refer to my plans directly, I knew how to approach planning, what strategies to use and what points I needed to consider.

3. Work kept me going

When everything first unfolded, it felt just overwhelming and scary. I made a conscious effort to focus on the things that I could control, which was largely my work.

I can’t do anything about global issues or national policy, but I can make sure that we have measures in place to keep our school community as safe as possible.

I found the sheer amount of available online meetings, support and entertainment somewhat overwhelming and I actually didn’t engage with a lot of it, as it often felt like one more thing on the list – I preferred to just focus on the things that needed doing and tuning out everything else. I often felt that I should have done more to engage with others, both personally and professionally, but found it easier to keep myself in my own little bubble for most of the time.

The meetings and people that I did engage with were fantastic – so much help and support, both practical and moral. It was good to be able to share, compare notes, get others’ thoughts, and it was good just to know that others were in the same situation.

4. People are the best part of my job