I recently stumbled upon a video on Facebook that an Australian man, Ian Nash-Gilchrist, and his son, Jasper, had recorded of their version of the children’s picture story book, Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox. In this version, the sheep are experiencing different elements of life under COVID-19 restrictions, including video conferencing, wearing face masks and gloves, using hand sanitiser and learning TikTok dances. Ian refers to them using names like ‘the iso-sheep’ and ‘the panic-buying sheep’. When the Green Sheep is finally found, (*spoiler alert!) she is in a laboratory working on a vaccine for COVID-19. It was such a neat parody of this familiar story, that I have read to my own children many times, that I couldn’t help but smile. It captures so well this surreal life we are all living, with creativity and good humour.
It is certainly a strange situation that we find ourselves in; one where the demarcation between work, home, school and recreation has become rather blurred. Our home-life dynamic is rotating on a new axis where we find ourselves wearing professional attire on top and stretchy pants on the bottom; we have the time and space to get outside for our hour of exercise at lunch times, and then we can sit down and enjoy a hot lunch. Our students can quite literally roll out of bed and ‘into class’; they have greater flexibility about how they go about their day and how they use their time when not in scheduled conferences; and they are learning much about who they are, how they learn and about the extent to which they can self-manage.
Our world has become, for the most part, much smaller and our focus somewhat narrower. The days feel long and sometimes they are really hard. Our challenge, as parents and educators, will be to help our young people appreciate what they have learned during this time; to help them reflect on the skills and attributes that they have developed during this period of living and learning during isolation.
Before we know it, we the glove-wearing, sanitiser-bathing, TikTok-dancing sheep, will again be allowed to venture beyond our 5km paddock and back into a life that we feel more in control of. It is essential that we help our students to move back into this space aware of, able to articulate, and ready to implement what they have learned and the areas in which they have grown.
One day soon, that Green Sheep will find her vaccine, and she will be able to go back to being ‘fast asleep’.
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Wellbeing
Feature image: Green Sheep story for COVID times – by Ian and Jasper Nash-Gilchrist