It has been a strange time in Bro Teifi since we returned to school at the beginning of September. There are one-way systems, disinfecting stations everywhere and the teachers are fiercely competing for the most fashionable mask!
The school is definitely quieter. Instead of pupils rushing from lesson to lesson, the corridors are quiet as we stay in the same class. Thankfully, lunch times are still as busy and noisy as ever with everyone from Phase 1 to 3 taking turns to eat in the canteen.
We have to admit that getting used to the new systems has been difficult. We haven’t seen anyone outside the Sixth Form since term started; the face-to-face contact that usually occurs between the pupils of each year has changed as everyone stays in their designated zones, classrooms and appointed lunchtimes. Usually, we are buddies to Phase 2 and we read with pupils in Phase 1, but the current limitations don’t allow this. It’s good to have Teams and technology to connect us a school community.
Mind you – it is impossible to get hold of any teacher in the school as they move from room to room. Posting questions on Teams has become very familiar – no matter what time of day! There is no doubt that the Coronavirus situation shows that Ysgol Bro Teifi is able to adapt to anything, and the effort shown is testament to the determination and hard work of the whole school body.
To be honest, at the beginning of this year, members of the Sixth Form were worried about how we would cope without our lattes, pizzas and lemon drizzles at break time; as it has turned out it hasn’t been a bad thing as we’ve had more money to spend at lunchtime! By the way, where have the sofas gone?! Let’s not stress too much as we still have a common room of sorts where we can while away the time – of course, always adhering to rules of social distancing.
On a serious note, mental health issues have affected young people’s lives over the lockdown period. Even in the current situation, we are pulling together to make our school a safe place to learn, eat and socialize. And for the pupils from every Phase, remember, if you have any concerns, talk to your teachers and we can all work together to create a close-knit community, despite the pandemic. We are currently working with the teachers to create a pupil voice forum and we look forward to discussions with pupils across the age range.
Indeed, our experiences in Bro Teifi are different in almost every way. The teachers are like tortoises carrying their precious resources in boxes and trolleys. Eeveryone concentrates on staying on the correct lane whilst following the one-way system. The Library is (for the most part) quiet, except for the Year Seven or Eight bubble explosion during break or lunch time. Now, the morning bacon rolls must be purchased from Avril’s market stall under the bridge and no longer are we afforded the privilege of jumping the lunch queue. The email inbox is full to bursting and we are very familiar with ‘going’ everywhere through the laptop – whether it’s at YFC meetings, instrumental lessons or University open days! But the smile that radiates from our teachers’ masks is the same, the same greeting with the latest unfunny joke remains and more importantly the concern in checking we are coping with everything is unchanged. Everyone is now adjusting and trying to make the most of the year, completing our UCAS applications and planning for the future. Who knows? Perhaps we can develop into a more caring, responsible and conscientious community as a result of this baffling pandemic.
Looking back on our time at school, nothing compares to the experiences we have had in the sixth form. Last year, swogging in Llangrannog was the first ‘milestone’ but now it’s the simple experience of being back in school which is amazing! To see everyone, teachers, cooks and friends. Sanitising emphatically, keeping a safe distance from everyone and eating in the drama studio, this year’s experiences are certainly very different.
Here’s to wishing everyone a relaxed, well deserved half term.