Teaching in a time of doubt (or any bugger can teach, right?)

“No they can’t. Or well, perhaps they can because parents are home-schooling perfectly well and they don’t need teachers at all.”

“Look at the New Oak Academy materials that we’ve had to make because schools aren’t doing what they need to and it’s just not good enough. In fact it’s SO not good enough that Lord Adonis had to tell Ofsted about it.”

“Teachers’ Unions don’t care about teaching and they’re all freeloading and taking the mick.”

But we need teachers and we thank them for the work they’re doing at distance. And their teaching’s great.  But no, need them to work through the holidays and catch up all the kids’ learning and their teaching isn’t good enough. We’ve seen too many gaps in learning. Lessons aren’t accessible online but you have to do it all digitally and make it accessible for all (even those who don’t have a computer).”

And now my head hurts.

This is just some of the verbal tennis going round the internet about teachers and their (un)professionalism. And to be quite frank, I am quite sick of it. Not anyone can be a teacher as lots of parents are finding out. It is hard. There is subject content to have. There is pedagogical knowledge to hold in your head. And there are new technology platforms, students’ different internet accessibility levels, remembering who needs the office space this morning, thinking about who is looking after the baby at 4pm, when you’re having lunch, what marking you’ll do and when… and more ad infinitum. And this is just in your own house. There are colleagues’ home-work-life balances to consider and their digital resources, there are students’ home situations to consider. And that’s just when you’re working normally before the pandemic kicks in.

I’ve read some real vitriol about teachers these last few days, saying we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re inadequate and not enough and all the rest of it. Well duuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. of course we don’t know what we’re doing at this point. It is a chuffing pandemic!

No-one knows what they’re doing because we’ve never had one before!

But we do know how to teach, we’re learning to deliver online/distance/independent materials for our students and we’re supporting them through phonecalls, emails, carriers pigeon and everything else. Schools are open, teachers are working and we are certainly not on holiday.

And they wonder why there is a recruitment crisis!

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