After months of furlough and home-working and despite a continuing government request to work from home (if you can) some workers are returning. We caught up with Dad, Ollie Mansfield a Cellist and Music teacher on his first week back to work.
No Face Mask
It’s back to getting up at 5.45am to drive up to London and work at the Saturday Music School where I teach. There have been many emails sent with new institutional policies and procedures surrounding the Corona Virus. As I’m mainly working with primary aged children, the risks are much lower, so I am pleased that I do not need to wear a face covering or visor during classes. It’s lovely to see the children face to face. You can tell they are really happy to be back. I found that I had to think very consciously when moving around and implementing teaching strategies to keep social distancing.
I got to take my two year old son to the local children’s play centre. He loved running around and clambering over all the padded obstacles, sliding down the slides and burning lots of energy. I loved the opportunity to bond with him in a setting that wasn’t the usual park trip or play ground. I hope these places will stay open over the next few months, as it’s great for children and parents to get out, play together and bond.
Today was a struggle to feel motivated. The news that restrictions are to increase for at least 6 months feels utterly exhausting. I’m lucky I have my teaching work as I know many freelance musicians feel completely abandoned and looking for other employment. I wonder if schools will have to close or restrict access before the end of the term.
I went and taught for the first time at a school I teach at. Again it was lovely to see my students face to face and I’m pleased I do not need to wear a mask around them as they are primary age. It’s taking some getting used to following the various one way systems. The students seem used to regularly sanitising their hands at the various hand sanitiser stations. Safeguarding policy is putting a greater emphasis on mental health. I wonder what might be the long term mental health impact on young people be with these various restrictions.
My son is in childcare for half the day which gives me and my wife time to do some work setting up our new business. It’s quite a juggle at the moment fitting in existing work, new work and spending time as a family. Some weeks we get it spot on and other weeks it can feel quite tough. We are expecting our second child at Christmas, I hope we can have a home birth so I can be around. I am still annoyed that I couldn’t attend any of the scans. For me it helps bond with the baby and give the feeling that we’re a family team.
Face to Face
Another early drive up to London to teach. All my cello students seem to be making much quieter sounds on their cello than before lockdown. I think it’s because on Zoom the mic and volume amplified the sound. All my students said they preferred having face to face lessons because they felt they could concentrate more. For some reason I have been given my own teaspoon at the school to use, despite having touched the same kettle, coffee pot, fridge and carton of milk as everyone else. I wonder what difference this will actually make. These small things do make me chuckle.
Back up to teach at the specialist music school. Because we have to keep the windows open to ensure air ventilation we spent the day inside but with our coats on because it was incredibly cold. No matter what the weather is, we have to keep the windows open. I’m concerned that on a rainy day children will have to sit in wet clothing in a cold room because of the ventilation health policy. I really hope this changes during the term!
About the Author
Oliver Mansfield, lives in East Sussex with his wife and son and is a cellist, educator and blogger. If you enjoy a concert from the comfort of your own home why not take a look at his Front Room Concerts playing each week directly on Facebook, raising money for struggling performers and their chosen charity Help Musicians UK.
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