Reservoirs of hope... salute to Torbay educators

Torbay Weekly

School chaplain Rev Nathan Kiyaga:

To all educators and leaders in education across Torbay, thank you.

Our young people will look back with gratitude for what you have done for them.

Schools in Torbay have been a safe place for so many young people over this season from our early years provisions, to our college and the in between.

Many families will be grateful for the sense of routine and continuity the schools have been to their children.

As one who is in a house where we attend five different educational settings, I am grateful for you.

These settings are the places where some students have met another person other than those in their home.

Alongside making friends, many have grown and learnt vital lessons in line with their aspirations and also found support for their mental health and wellbeing.

Teaching and support staff have continued to provide blended learning through this pandemic, an experience that has seen some homes turned into classroom studios and cars into delivery vehicles.

In these times of constant change and uncertainty, our education settings have had to adjust accordingly.

It has not been easy for all settings and am sure there have been a few disappointments along the way.

There is so much each setting has had to think about. For example, how to maintain the provisions with staff isolating, championing secure and positive attachment in a Covid-secure way, or running additional provisions for those who need them or finding the right cover support or delivering homework packs for those isolating.

The transition years have had to think creatively about finishing well in a celebratory but muted way.

From my perspective, it has felt that a thriving educator has had to master the art of dealing with the problems each day brings without losing sight of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Prepare an outstanding lesson for face-to-face learning that can equally be delivered virtually should the circumstances require that to be the case.

Master the hybrid environment without losing the classroom etiquette.

Engage those who may have come out of a learning routine and prepare for inspections of all kinds.

This, to me, is a perfect example of ambidexterity in education.

I often wonder how much adjustment one can do before they break!

You might be reading this as an educator and are feeling really exhausted and weary.

You may have felt discouraged by the recent headlines following the SEND local authority inspections.

You may have other personal reasons causing you grief.

I want to thank you for not giving up and for remaining faithful to your vocation as an educator.

You are building a cathedral and your contribution to this generation may only be celebrated many years down the line.

You are a reservoir of hope to a disoriented and dysregulated child.

You are the compass to an enthusiastic student.

You are training a generation that will transform our society as we know it.

As you stride into the next few days taking a day at time, may you know that you matter to your school, the students, and to God.

You are more than your pay cheque.

May you know that you are a gift to this generation and we are praying for you as a faith community in Torbay.

Our prayer is rooted in the gospel message in Matthew that says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God’s arms are big enough to receive you just as you are. Come with your frustrations, your joys, your pains and that inspection report and place them in his presence and he will renew you.

Your success is ours too and your pain touches our hearts.

Keep going with the strength you have been given educating a life at a time.

Our young people will look back with gratitude for what you did for them.