“TALKING is a thing teachers tend to do rather well. But could we all do it a little bit better?

“Back in January, I read an article about the fact that we are not doing enough of it these days. Well, those wet and chilly days when we luxuriated in communicating in whatever form we felt inclined to now seem like a lifetime away, however the sentiment seems more important than ever.

“The gist of the article is a familiar one: put down your phone, no devices at the table, don’t ‘like’ a post on Facebook when you can speak to your old school friend and so on. Human contact, accent and non-verbal clues have more impact and land more successfully than a thumbs up emoji or brutal bursts of consonant-only text. But of course, we don’t have the time! Too busy working, too tired or too busy talking with someone else. However, in the socially restricting times of Coronavirus, we do have the time – and lots of it.

“More than ever we need to talk to each other and do more than just talk rather willingly commit with effort and energy to the serve and volley of conversation. When we can’t reach out and hug, this is a precious gift. Even in the busy space of the fully occupied family home it is easy to get soaked up in your own little world. Teenagers retreat to their rooms and all but disappear and what else is there to say when the news gives us the same messages? Isolation can creep up on us, so let’s get talking.

“As we start the new term I urge us all to keep the conversation going. More than ever we need to feel that family, friends and school are out there wanting to share, support, laugh and discuss with us. Over the past few weeks, Zoom has kept me in touch with colleagues, children and parents and we have kept the conversation going. And so that January article wasn’t actually accurate. We now need devices more than ever to make contact and through conversation, reach out to connect. Our conversation is an affirmation of community and belonging and how we demonstrate support for each other. We should take joy from these interactions and remind ourselves that the ‘new normal’ can have a silver lining.”

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