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  • Natalie Coyle-Smith

He waka eke noa- We are all in this together

Self reflection By Natalie Coyle-Smith

Covid-19. The Corona Virus. Well! This is a whole new ball game.

A world-wide pandemic. One in a 100 year epidemic. An unprecedented time.

However you describe it, it has been a worrying, challenging, and unusual time. It has affected people in different ways. It is a “learn as we go” situation. Some people have still had to go out into the world and be our heroes, more have had to stay at home. In a very short space of time we had to sort out what our bubble would look like, who would be in it, should our tertiary students come home, split families - where will the children go, whose bubble will they be in? And the list goes on.

We are missing our children, elderly parents, friends, and work colleagues.

It is also a time of job uncertainty, bringing many financial worries with it. It will look different for everybody.

But there have definitely been pluses. We have learnt to make home videos with/without Harold which have been very creative and awesome to watch. We have learnt to zoom! This has meant keeping in touch with our very important people. It has brought us closer together….and it has enabled us to work in a very different way!

I have loved the zoom meetings with people I don’t know very well. People from all over the country. We have had National, Regional and Local zoom meetings, as well as Professional Development delivered via zoom. We have collaborated, discussed, debated and worked together to support each other, check in with each other and feel closer, even from a great distance. We’ve had grandchildren born, discovered new ways of doing things, raised a glass to each other and our Fallen ANZACS, coloured in our Easter Egg pics, made poppies, and gotten to know each just that little bit more.

We have come together as an organisation, pooling our resources, ideas, and cementing our great philosophy of caring, kindness and sharing.

It is also a sad time for those that have been unable to get through this and our heart breaks for them. We hope they know we are there for them to support and help in any way we can.

We are all communicating with our schools to offer as much support to their communities as we can. Harold is alive and well and the Small Changes Website is a fantastic resource that schools seem to have appreciated immensely, along with the Covid Myth-Busting Quiz. Thank you so much to all you wonderful people who share their knowledge, time, and abilities with the rest of us.

Each school is very individual and some have continued to value us, and some seem a bit overwhelmed and can’t seem to see how we can fit into this strange new world at the moment. It is, at times, a fine balance between showing support and overwhelming them with too much information. We are only human and we do our best to read the tone, deciding if it’s time to give them some space or keep regular communication.

Learning with Harold looks different for different educators and schools. But from what I can see and hear from our regular zoom meetings, we are all on the same page, looking after each other and the schools we support, to the best of our ability.

So a big thank you from me for helping me get through this tough time, being a sounding board, giving reassurance when needed and helping me feel connected to you all.

Nga Mihi Nui Natalie and Harold.


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