Message from Mr Gallagher - End of week 2
I have spent my entire life (since the age of 4!) in schools, being part of large groups, working in teams and belonging to communities. A life I love and feel very comfortable within. So to be taken out of that structure, routine and daily contact with my community has been a real shock and very unsettling for me. Many of us have incredibly adept survival instincts and at the moment I feel, as I'm sure many of you do, that I'm just getting through each day, trying to stay calm and following the advice to shorten the existence of this pandemic – surviving.
As you're aware, promoting well-being and positive mental health within others is a real passion of mine and essential for the growth and togetherness of a community. Doing this remotely through our website, social media, and phone calls will only ever scratch the surface. Face to face interactions; chatting, laughing, celebrating, story-telling, playing, are the ways we make each other smile, each other happy and improve each other's well-being. We're not going to be able to do this for quite some time yet.
It will happen again and hopefully in 2020. Just writing that down makes me take a deep inhalation of breath, we're only in April and we're starting to realise that we might not be able to open Silverhill again until September.
We can't change what has happened, but we are in control of how we respond to the situation. I've had good days and bad days this week but at all times I've worked really hard on managing my thoughts and subsequent feelings.
'Gratitude' is what I'm focusing on. My family are not poorly. Currently, that is how I'm judging the quality of my life. Grateful for the front-line NHS workers whom are risking their lives and their families' wellbeing every day to tackle this horrendous virus. I'm not getting it right every day and I'm finding my new normal a challenge, but it pales into insignificance with the plight of many others.
I am in daily contact with Key worker parents who are juggling their professional and personal lives desperately trying to keep their child at home and safe, but can't always. Silverhill will be open every weekday, including bank holidays, for their children.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Key workers for the sterling job they are doing to fight this epidemic and keep our country going – thank you. I would also like to thank my staff who have been incredible during this time and continue to be motivated and committed to supporting you all – even those who are not able to leave the house and interact at school. I'm a lucky boss to lead this team.
However I want to give a special mention to the children of key workers. They are coming to school, some every day, and living in a world that no-one has ever been in before. Within our school house system we have a house team called 'Pioneers'. These children are pioneers. They are experiencing a unique combination of school life and home life like never before...and they keep smiling and keep impressing us every day – amazing! We live our Silverhill life through our S.P.I.R.I.T values and discuss what they look like; well we need to look no further than the behaviours and attitudes of this group of children.
I've always felt proud and privileged to be a head teacher and the impact you have on young minds and community spirit, none more so than at the moment.
Life will return to normal, and what a day that will be! But in the meantime the Silverhill team will be here for your children and your families, to help you (and us!) get through this chapter of our lives, as unscathed as possible. At some point of each day, let's take a moment, and be mindful of the wonderful things we have within our community and be grateful for those who are risking their lives for ours.
Please keep in touch and connect with as many Silverhillers as possible. Dojo, email the staff, share your feelings, your successes and your worries.
You can reach me on email@example.com anytime and I'll respond asap.
Say 'Hi' to your children from me. I miss them.
Keep smiling and remember what I said last week about learning at home:
'Your children, your family, your home – your way!'
May all your skies be blue...