A member of staff this week was walking into school and someone politely said hello and ‘It’s a good time to be a teacher!’, it provoked a reaction and conversation and hopefully the person feels a little more informed but it has certainly inspired my blog this week…
I am lucky, in lots of ways really lucky. I work at an amazing school, with motivated pupils and staff that are always willing to go the extra mile. In normal times I often walk around school as I leave and tell staff that are still on-site to go home (not that they listen). Collectively we want the absolute best for all the pupils we are involved with.
So surely this is a great time to be a teacher, no lessons, no kids, sat at home relaxing? Just a really long holiday?
I hope that all of our parents (and wish the wider public) realise that is just not the case.
This week my wife has been off work, she works in the NHS as a radiotherapist and has been busy over the last few weeks, really busy. This has meant that I have been at home with my own children most of the week, easy you say? A bit of home-learning? I can sympathise with all parents trying for some kind of structure. It is hard to be helping the kids, setting lessons and ultimately with Miss Bradley trying to run a school. Online meetings started as a bit of fun but sometimes children just don’t understand please don’t disturb me I am in a meeting (my youngest has made guest appearances in several!), online lessons? Well setting work, uploading resources is fine but guiding pupils who need help or advice is so much more difficult using only a text box. This is without contacting those who are having difficulties accessing the technology, safeguarding issues or just keeping a school going trying to plan for whatever the future looks like. I have been fortunate that this week I have been able to be in school a bit more. I have felt a real sense of purpose and after several weeks of just trying to work through the issues day to day there is some planning for the future. We have plans in place for transition (new year 7 pupils look out for the email next week), the timetable and how we might support pupils when they return. We know that there might be some details on school re-opening in the coming days, we get this information at the same time as the whole of the UK, no heads up, warning or early briefing and that means you are constantly in a state of flux waiting for the next announcement.
In consideration of the wider staff of the school, we all like the communication with pupils, routine and structure and all of that is gone. Teachers are sat in front of screens not pupils, responding to messages not questions and constantly worrying about the young people that they have nurtured and worked with over sometime many years. Our student support team are on the phone not seeing the pupils in person, causing constant worry.
So a good time to be a teacher? No
A good time to be a teacher will be when we come out of the other side of this virus. Seeing our classes again, being in a full classroom, sharing the successes of all pupils and ultimately for me those first assemblies when I know that everyone has returned safely and our Hastings family is back together again. We know that this might take a long time but we have to be patient, follow the advice and ultimately we will return to a time when it is good to be a teacher.
I hope everyone has a safe weekend with time to reflect on both VE day and the journey we are on,