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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Nicolle's Diary #9: A new academic year

The start of a new academic year, as I reflected on last year I felt a sense of excitement- some semblance of normal was coming.

Back to my school placement I go, I am slightly hesitant, a lot has changed. For starters a lot of staff I had got use to working with had gone, we even had a new headteacher, then there were the children; a new class and actually how would they be in themselves after such a long period at home? I trot through the door with confidence for safeguarding training. “Oh you’ll need a tour!” a colleague said. I was baffled, I knew where everything was or at least I thought I did. I did not. Due to needing to be ‘Covid Secure’ everything had moved. Regardless I kept smiling.

Then there was the return to learning, what was meant to be face to face would be online. This was not an alien concept, but it was slightly sad. I had been quite excited to return to our setting and catch-up with my fellow students but alas this was not possible. I signed in early and had a quick catch-up with my PAT (Personal Academic Tutor), I was strangely nervous after what felt like a long break. I just needed to get back into my routine and get my brain fired back up! If being brutally honest with myself I wasn’t sure I was “up to it”.

 Session 1 flew by and I was sad to see it end. It was good to be back but I still didn’t feel “up to it”. Upon reflection it was not the course content, nor the delivery mode, it wasn’t my academic competency either. It was in fact just the process of readjusting to the normality I had longed for. As I pondered this, I realised in the space of 2 weeks for the first time in almost 6 months I had returned to work and my children had returned to school; for the first time in almost 4 months I was attending university and for the first time in a long while I was being required to structure my time and balance a multitude of responsibilities again.

We have just had session 3, we were reviewing the core values of an institution, one of which was to respect diversity- which for me posed a big question: if we ask somebody to embrace and conform in order to promote institutional values at the expense of their own are we valuing their diversity? And subsequently actually going against those values ourselves? Debate ensued and this was my turning point. I suddenly felt my brain fire up and the passion reignite and the fact that it took me a couple of weeks to get there is probably actually a good thing as it’s made me appreciate it a whole lot more.

I now feel ready to take on my Level 5 studies!