Guilt is a feeling people typically have after doing something wrong, intentionally or accidentally. A person’s sense of guilt usually relates to their moral code. Guilt isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes it’s even productive.
Is anyone else weighed down with guilt at the moment?
After 18 years in schools, it feels wrong that I am not on the front line doing my bit.
Watching the madness unfold via the news and following the crisis management activity of my former school leader and Headteacher peers I know I could, and that I should, be doing more to help.
But I find myself handcuffed by my situation. I am no longer school-based. I am no longer responsible. My university role means I am safe, I am at home, I am working remotely. I am not going to come in to contact with anyone who is infected.
Is it absurd that I feel guilty that I am safe and well?
I imagine my peers in education who are university-based or who are independent consultants, advisors or freelancers are feeling the same. As trained teachers we are fixers, problem-solvers and helpers. As former school leaders we are used to being the ones to lead the teams through turbulent times.
But right now we cannot physically help. We can only sit and watch things unravel, supporting virtually, from the sidelines. The best thing we can all do if we are not on a emergency childcare team rota is to #StayHomeSaveLives.
I was racking my brains about what I could offer as support.
I process my thoughts and feelings by writing, which is why I initiated this blogging opportunity through the #DailyWritingChallenge. The idea was to help people connect through social isolation virtually and share their experiences as they grapple with their emotions. I know it has been cathartic for many in the group to write, to read, to discuss how we are feeling.
Seeing lots of my #womened community sharing their anxiety, overwhelm and stress on social media, I have offered to host a series of women peer support circles. I am doing this to support 25 women who are friends, family and former colleagues manage the uncertainty and navigate these turbulent times by creating some emotional safety. If I am honest, I am also doing this to keep myself busy and feeling useful to relieve some of the guilt too.
I have seen some creative ideas spawn on social media over the weekend – the community of educational tweeters are more united, more supportive and more collaborative than ever before. There is a #WeAreInThisTogether spirit uniting everyone in the collective responsibility of stabilising the chaos – the kindness and generosity being shown has removed all sense of competition and division between schools. I hope that when this period is over, we can hold on to the selfless values-led humanity we are witnessing and all turn over a new leaf.