These past months in Covid-19 times have been rough for all, including teachers. Some families are still hurting on the way back from lockdown, particularly in Victoria. Don’t forget teachers are human and have been doing it tough too! Let’s be kind to them and here’s why.
Over the past months we have heard some wonderful stories of communities banding together to support each other. Even some neighbours have met each other for the first time. All our communities have been hurting – there have been lost jobs, fear, loneliness and, for families with children, there’s been schooling at home.
For working parents it’s been tough, even if they have been working from home. For those without jobs it must have been unimaginably difficult to teach and support children, often in subjects that are unfamiliar, while dealing with their own worries.
While most teachers will have kept their jobs there has been huge change in the way they have had to teach during ‘lockdown’ and schooling at home. This has meant starting over again to prepare their lessons. While teachers are more than capable and extremely flexible, the change to working digitally online rather than face-to-face with their students has been a challenge. This has been exacerbated often by poor connection to digital processes in both some schools and many homes.
Most teachers take on their profession because they want their students to thrive. They feel responsible for achieving this.
It was well documented that in the early days of schooling from home that teachers were working late into the night, every night, to rewrite their courses. There was stress and fatigue. Add this work pressure to their own household pressures and it is clear to see that teachers were very much part of the general unease felt by the whole community.
Victorian teachers have been under particular stress as the lock-down and schooling from home has continued for months.
Back to school is wonderful – there will be disappointments!
At this point everyone is very happy to be back to school with some degree of normality. However some difficulties still remain, particularly in Victoria.
It’s time for reports, end of school graduations, end of school concerts and other celebrations. But can these realistically happen the same way as in other years?
In past years these will have been extravagances with no time or organisation spared. This year however, individual schools will be organising Covid-safe gatherings or scaling them down. Many parents will still want these for their children, as the students themselves do, but Covid safe constraints on schools and teachers can make this a difficult, if not impossible, task.
School community disappointment at the loss of many traditions has been keenly felt. This also affects the teachers who feel under pressure to provide at least some celebration to mark rites of passage.
End of year reports – how complete will they be?
Reports, however, are expected for every child and these will be particularly difficult to write for teachers especially in the primary years. Primary school teachers do assess to gain a score for a student’s achievement in subjects, however there is also a great deal of observation and small group work undertaken during the year which expands the teacher’s knowledge of where a student is achieving or needs more work. For many schools, again particularly those which have been in a long lockdown, this continual observation has been impossible.
Therefore parents this year will need to understand and be sensitive to the difficulties teachers will experience placing their child exactly where they should be in the standards. Teachers will do their best but it is acknowledged that this year’s learning will need some consolidation as, hopefully, we move into a smoother year for education next year.
It has been a stressful year for all, but just as families have really tried their best, so have teachers. Let ensure we are kind to them too.