I am at home giving my children a bath when I get the message, another colleague has called in sick, and I am needed tomorrow morning to help care for patients being treated for the coronavirus. I have already worked double-shifts for weeks on end. My job requires me to be around people infected with the virus, putting the health of myself and my family at risk. But I don’t think twice – I reply saying I will be there first thing tomorrow morning.

WHO AM I? I am the doctors and nurses working tirelessly in our hospitals right now. My normal workload has not changed. I still have patients ready to give birth, patients needing urgent surgery, patients undergoing chemotherapy. I cannot ignore their needs or the needs of my new patients with the virus; I have to do what it takes to somehow address everyone’s health requirements.

All around me everyone’s life has changed dramatically. Everyone is going home. Kids don’t have to go to school, students don’t have to go to university, most adults don’t have to go to work because it is considered too unsafe. However, for me – work continues. I am expected to show up to work tomorrow where people are rude to me and expect endless amounts of me and my colleagues, when we are already working as hard as we possibly can.

WHO AM I? I am the supermarket workers keeping shelves stacked for the Kiwis who are isolating at home. I am the supermarket delivery drivers, manoeuvring the New Zealand roads non-stop, ensuring these supermarkets have enough food. I am working as hard as I possibly can. I ask you to remain calm so I can do my job for the good of everyone.

Ever since the coronavirus began infiltrating New Zealand cities, my job has gotten a lot harder. I have had to significantly increase my workload to make sure that every nook and cranny is clean. Nobody wants to touch unclean surfaces themselves, but they expect me to have no problem with this – they say that it’s my job after all.

WHO AM I? I am the cleaners working tirelessly in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. My job is more important than ever right now, and I treat it as so. However, I can’t help that hoping when this is all over, people will respect my role in society a bit more than they used to. I hope they recognise how vital my job is when it comes to protecting the health of the country.

I am passionate about my job, and I am good at it – really good. However, I know that the success I have had comes down to my ability to engage with my students. All of a sudden, I feel the need to prove to myself that I am just as good, if not more, when working from home. I am using technology I have no experience with, trying to engage with my students and help them learn, all through a screen.

WHO AM I? I am the teachers of Kiwi kids. I am anxious. How can I keep students motivated? How can I celebrate their success? Make them feel connected to each other? Education is supposed to continue – but I can’t put my usual methods to use. The one thing I know is that the only way this is going to work is if we worth with each other. Give each other time to figure it out and go easy on each other. We will learn how to do this just like we learn everything else – slowly but surely.

This term we have focused on a “Who Am I” theme, learning about awesome people who have accomplished notable things, and discussing what we can learn from them. We have focused on individuals in our society who we aspire to be like. However, with everything going on at the moment in NZ and all across the world, we can see from a new perspective what is truly remarkable right now. How roles in our society we might once have taken for granted are truly heroic. So today, we have focussed on some examples of the New Zealanders that we appreciate more than ever and can learn true life lessons from. However, there is another hero we need to look at: Everyone else.

Everyone has the opportunity to be a hero right now. Now is not the time to think that we are exempt from the rules, or to make little excuses about why we are the one exception. Now is the time to be strict with ourselves and with each other. STAY HOME and BE SAFE.

Stay home and be safe. Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends and family. Do it for the people making sacrifices for us right now. Do it for your nana and pops. Let’s do this Kiwi Kids.

Thinking Questions:

This week, I ask you to think of two more essential workers and discuss how their lives are being affected by coronavirus right now.

– I ask you to think of how their health is at risk, and what this means for their family.

– I ask you to think of what they are sacrificing right now.

– Finally, I ask you to think of how you can show your support for these people – whether that means right now or when this period has passed.

Stay safe, Hannah. X

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