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Teaching in Times of Darkness (or the Power of Light).

Lock down is happening in spring, so each week the days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter. I like that. I am a daytime person and I love natural light. As I write this, I am next to our big front room windows that let light flood in. Mr Dr Ross and I live in a house from the 1970s and one of the key features of houses from then seems to be big windows. For us that’s perfect- I am a creature of daylight.

Dark, dull rooms make me properly grumpy.

In my previous job, I was based in a listed building. It was a gorgeous setting, in the honey-coloured Wiltshire stone with prettiness oozing out of every crevice. On paper it was cracking. But the windows in my bit office were teeny! So very teeny. I spent easily 11-12 hours a day in that room during term time, and it would be so very dark even in the height of summer. The dark, shady room. The lack of daylight just made me so grumpy. I like the light.

Sitting here now in my house- with-big-windows, where I’ve a garden with the sun all day long I don’t get grumpy. I enjoy working at home and I enjoy working at work. I’m lucky because I have the setting around me that allows me not only to do my work, but to enjoy it.

Setting is everything. Absolutely everything.

Now flash over to settings where light is lacking. Rooms might be small, people might be crowded. Windows may be small or covered over. Work space might not exist. Equipment and resources might be lacking. Where there is light, it might be oppressive and too much. It might be artificial or it might be intermittent. But that lack of light and lack of space impedes so much. Enjoyment in work can only happen when you’re engage in it. Engagement can only happen when you’re equipped to engage with work. Take away that capacity to engage- taking away light and space- then you remove that chance to enjoy, to learn and to enthuse.

Take away that and everything else is an uphill battle. We need the light to learn.