“Some fools don’t know what’s right from wrong

But somehow those folks belong

Me, I try for all I’m worth

But I still remain a stranger on this earth

Some people gloom, other folk cry

Me, I have to struggle to keep alive

Ever since the day of my birth

I’ve been a stranger, stranger on this earth”


A Stranger on Earth

Dinah Washington


A butterfly almost flew into me in the fog. It’s part Hound of the Baskervilles out there and part fluffy duvet day. There’s a comfort if you wish.

The end of school year photos have a new feel. Those self-assured confident beings. Smiling back. I wonder what’s the purpose of school? To batter us? To kill our love of learning? In the midst of what’s been seen as an almost wartime era for those souls – I see such growth. I’m filled with hope.

We debate the abolishment of exams – seriously for once. Universities look at intake in a new fashion.

One of my original teaching team jokes – “it only took a pandemic for others to listen.” Our students are all thriving. They’ve had love – family time as their parents stepped off the hamster wheel. The space to change. To learn at their own pace. To for once not feel behind. I often describe learning to them as a horse race – one they start out of the stalls late. But not to worry because in the Grand National many will fall and they’ll have time to catch up. The race was cancelled.

There’s been no pressure to fit in – to not just feel strange. The lack of comparison has fuelled the greatest metamorphosis.

And yes at times they’ve got lonely or bored. But they’ve had the time to explore emotions too. Less noise to distract.

Of course, there has been dysfunction too. But as I hoped we’ve not been able to close our eyes to this either. To pretend it’s not there. Everyone has been left feeling a part to play. A need to support.

So when we go back to school again will we no longer just be strangers? All trying so hard to fit in. To pretend – to not drown in the soup. Will we seek to grow here to too? To feel nurtured and not compared. Butterflies in the fog.

Naoisé 26th June 2020