“Do you know what,” Kim says, coming closer to the screen like she’s telling me a secret, “lockdown hasn’t really changed any element of my life whatsoever. I was already antisocial,” she says with a smirk, “it’s just now I’m doing it on someone else’s terms, so, you know, it’s just like ‘yay, I don’t have to make an excuse not to go to this thing I didn’t want to go to’.”
She laughs, and I realise it’s too long since we’ve chatted ‘face to face’.
Kim’s still been going into work, in a local primary school in the UK. There’s between six and twelve children needing care, either because they’re classed as vulnerable children or they’re the children of key workers.
When the UK lockdown was announced, schools only had two days to prepare for home learning. Kim’s school is classed as being in a deprived school area, and she says it was a “logistical nightmare” making sure the children have something to help them learn, “we needed to make sure they have laptops, tablets or phones. Maybe families will have one, but one each for each child?”
Kim’s job as School Business Manager means that at the moment she’s the person the parents go to with their questions, and she tells me there’s plenty of them, “there are hundreds! They all come through me and I then try and sort them out. If I can’t, I get in touch with the teachers. It’s busy,” she laughs, “I get everything.”
The first couple of weeks were really stressful, getting into a routine with work and homeschooling her two children, although her husband Rick has taken the role of teacher-Mr Fletcher-because he’s furloughed. She laughs as she tells me when she asked her nine year old what the best thing about being home schooled was, the reply was ‘I like the dinners’.
“My anxiety is having to go out and see other people, it always has been and always will be, so I’ve liked lockdown, once I got used to it. I need routine, it helps my mental health, it’s my safety net. It’s amazing how quickly you adapt though, and get used to a new routine. I don’t want to know what’s going to happen in the future, although it’s hard working in a school because we’re always looking at the terms ahead. I’m just taking each day, as it comes.”