Harry Phillips reflects on life in lockdown with a new baby, remote teaching and the ever changing landscape. 

Having been handed the honour of writing the final ‘reflections from the Foundry’ of this academic year, I find myself in the all too familiar situation for many of not knowing how to start writing. There is the old adage about baby steps still moving you forward and this seems to tie together both this piece and my life during ‘lockdown’.

Less that a week after the nation went into lockdown, my wife gave birth to our daughter Phoebe, our second child. So, just as I was getting to grips with the remote teaching of geography and helping to oversee the provision of teaching and learning, I was also getting to grips with the challenges and opportunities that a newborn baby and a 2 and half year old toddler brings!

When I reflect on this term, the 5 years I have spent at Warminster so far and the end of my tenth year in teaching, I am drawn to a quotation I recently came across by Jim Rohn ‘your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change’. The position that we find ourselves in now is challenging and ever changing, but I am ever optimistic that we will come out of this better. If there is one thing that the last term has taught me, it is to recognise the value of what is important and spend time doing it, at the expense of what is not - essentially a Marie Kondo lens on life.

It has been wonderful to be back in the classroom this half of term with some of the Year 10 and 12 pupils (don’t worry, it continues to be great to see everyone else on 8x8). To see the friendships still rock solid, the joy of being back in a classroom (can you believe it?!) and a renewed sense of purpose for learning I think maybe it does get better with change. Walking the corridors of school and hearing the sound of pupils and staff laughing and the palpable sense that social distancing in a physical sense is counterbalanced by the increased interaction by other means is testament to the strength of the Warminster Community. This is something that has been invaluable amongst the Foundry during my short time there so far, and whilst I have enjoyed taking a break from putting the kettle on and secretly squirreling away an extra slice of cake for my ‘hollow legs’, I have missed it all, and look forward to when we are back.

So, as the academic year 2019/2020 draws to a close, I have much to be grateful for despite what the news may say. I have embraced my sleepless nights, I have embraced the way that my family have had to adapt to the pandemic, I have seen much more of Phoebe (and Rupert and Daisy) than I would have ordinarily, I have relished the challenge of remote working and I have enjoyed seeing the best in people come to fore, both in and out of school. So, for me, Rohn is right, things do get better by change even if we cannot see that right now. And as I write this on the day of the summer solstice, I will leave you with one of my favourite thoughts – ‘try not to lament today the sun will always rise tomorrow.’

Harry Phillips​, Assistant Head Teaching and Learning, Head of Geography