The lockdown diaries week 10: beginnings of endings

Another week of lock down and the death toll in the UK as I write is 38,376. One of the highest in the world.  I am still very angry about the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown rule breaking fiasco I alluded to last week.  

A week certainly is a long time in politics. Neither Cummings or the UK Prime Minister have had the decency to apologise for the quite extraordinary tales of lockdown breaches.  The level that the whole UK cabinet have gone to defend Cummings is quite extraordinary.

This article by Guardian columnist Zoe Williams  really summed up my frustration – particularly her description of “hysterical emotional response”. As she so succinctly put it:

“there is so much wrongdoing, so much plain nonsense, that we circle it endlessly, castigate it relentlessly, but we can’t see our way past the authority of those responsible, and can’t see any way of acting on our anger.”

Let’s hope it in the long term it will hurt them as much as their actions this week have dismayed and hurt the UK population.

This week saw the start of the  beginnings of easing of lockdown here in Scotland as we moved into Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s roadmap. This means we can go out a bit more and, more importantly see friends and family outside, but still within our local areas. I’ll have to wait a bit longer to see my family as they don’t live locally. However, I’m willing do that as long as we can try to keep the spread of the virus under control.

I have already found being among more people, even in the supermarket or the park to be quite unsettling and anxiety inducing. There really is so much we don’t know about this virus and how it works, and what effect it will have on all our mental health in the longer term.

Meanwhile the we see more of the beginning of the end for casual staff in universities, whilst more attention is given to technological solutions to ensure the ‘new normal’ is as much like the ‘old normal’ as possible. This article of the student experience of online proctored exams I found quite terrifying. Yet I suspect that some of leaders who will cut staff will invest in software like this as “the solution”, instead of taking the opportunity to work with staff and students to develop forms of assessment that don’t require this level of privacy invasion, and that are much more authentic, caring and appropriate for our context.

Meanwhile my working week has been relatively online meeting free and I have been able to concentrate on reviews and writing for clients. My term as Chair of ALT is coming to an end, and I had one of my last catch ups with Maren Deepwell and Martin Hawksey to prepare for the (now online) AGM in June.  I’ll write more about that in separate post. Much as I have enjoyed being part of the leadership and governance of ALT, it is time for me to move on.

I also had a series of lovely catch ups with former and current work colleagues, including one with Mia Zamora. We had hoped to catch up during the OER conference but obviously with it going online that didn’t happen. So it was lovely to catch up and chat about a whole range of things. Once again I am so thankful for my PLN and the wonderful, inspiring, open and kind people in it. 

Until next week, dear reader, stay safe.

Mixed media, by Sheila MacNeill

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