The Colour of Courage

Courage, this has been a word I have examined over the past few weeks and continue to explore on both a personal and professional level in the face of adversity.

I have reflected upon how the world of education will look once we all return to some kind of ‘normality’, when we return to a routine (remember that?) and return to the ordinary things that in the past we have possibly taken for granted.

I am not afraid to say that during lockdown at times, I have struggled to find ‘colour’ in my personal and professional life and made a determined effort not to desaturate colour from my own life, my family and my colleagues and friends.

Moreover, in the moments of the darkness, I began to wonder if courage was a colour what colour would it be?

This led me to examine closely the flurry of rainbows popping up in peoples windows and in turn inspired me to utilise my previous floristry skills and adorn the front of my house with ribbons in the ‘Roy G Biv’ style. It was during this creative moment that I recalled the word ‘chromophobia’, this is best described as the aversion to colours.

For those of you who know me well will know I have no aversion to colour and I possess an inner Magpie which loves glitter and sparkle but more than ever I needed to discover how my inner courage was related to colour in my life and my work and in turn how can I use colour when working with learners and colleagues during these unprecedented times.

What colour is courage, is it within all the colours of the rainbow, for example and this is what I have created:

Red is for Resilience

Red is for Resilience, how as an educator have you ‘bounced back’ from a difficulty, how can we teach learners resilience and possibly help each other ‘recover’ from not only our learning experiences but possibly from grief which some of our colleagues and learners may have experienced due to COVID-19. It is here our community of practice and connections are vital and where we all may now be missing that socialisation as humans we crave.

Orange is for Objectivity

Orange is for Objectivity, now more than ever if we are being asked to grade previous assessments for learners, we need to remain objective and show our professionalism for every learner and to date this is ongoing as we work collectively with our peers online.

Yellow is for Your Inner Strength

Yellow is for Your Inner Strength, more than ever as educators we have had to have inner strength to define work/life balance whilst working at home and in turn supporting our own families with some of us home schooling whilst others of us may have family members as key workers or having to face lockdown ‘home alone’.

Green is for Guidance

Green is for Guidance, many of us have had to guide our learners both academically and emotionally and as tutors we have sought guidance from our colleagues through virtual staffrooms. Mental Health and Well Being and having the courage to seek guidance is paramount within this colour and it could be argued that guidance in many forms within education is needed more now than ever for both learners and colleagues.

Blue is for, Be compassionate

Blue is for, Be compassionate, more than ever as educators we have to display compassion for each other and our learners facing inequalities, hardship, loneliness or possible bereavement through this pandemic.

Indigo is for Integrity

Indigo is for Integrity, this is the hallmark of any educator who consistently through this pandemic has demonstrated sound moral and ethical standards. It is the foundation upon which your colleagues and learners build interpersonal relationships with you based on trust.

Violent is for Versatile

Violent is for Versatile, how versatile have we been in our approach to our family life, our working lives, and the lives of our learners? How much have we and can we change to meet the needs of our learners now and in the future?

So, this has led me to question how can we as educators not be fearful of colour, how can we inject colour back into our working lives or possibly our personal lives and into the lives of our learners?

How can we move forward and not be fearful of making a different colourful choice in our approaches to teaching and learning, or the education system as whole, is this not a time to reimagine FE?

For some of us educators and learners, colour may be missing from your lives right now and so making connections with one another is more powerful now than ever in order to not separate colours or your feelings, to support each other with our emotions or the moods we feel each day.

In conclusion, how can we use colour and courage to reflect light and hope, to reenergise ourselves, our education system and our learners?

May be the answers are somewhere over the Rainbow?

Annie Pendrey, FE / HE specialist

Dedicated to my Brother - Covid19

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