Utmost respect for teachers who are still there doing their best for our children

Child draws with watercolors using instructions on laptop.

No teacher ever signed up for this. - Credit: Getty Images

So here we are, back in home-school territory again. I have a near full-spectrum of secondary age children at home encompassing A-level, GCSE and a Year 7.

We are fortunate enough to have just about enough tech to deal with the demands of three timetables plus my own work from home and just about enough space in the house to accommodate simultaneous live Teams calls.

Sadly, it has meant that I’ve given up hoovering because I can’t be held responsible for somebody missing that crucial bit of information now can I?!

Hats off to Exmouth Community College and all the teaching staff for their tremendous efforts in making online teaching a smooth transition. 

Occasionally there are issues but that happens in school too; there isn’t a teacher alive who hasn’t experienced the Monday panic of a broken photocopier or a PowerPoint that won’t load. 

I had become disillusioned with the teaching profession long before Covid but I have the utmost respect for the teachers who are still there doing their best for our children, particularly at the moment.

No teacher ever signed up for this, but like the professionals they are, they make the best of it and create a whole new way of working.

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It was galling to hear the comments of our Education Secretary recently who called upon parents to report schools to Ofsted if they didn’t think their children were being given enough work. 

It was also heartening that the overwhelming reaction of most parents was in support of teachers.

If there’s one thing that home-school has highlighted for many families, it’s how much work is undertaken every single day in schools, week after week.

Of course for teachers, the work doesn’t stop when the lessons stop and I for one, would love to see us come out of this year with a better appreciation of the teaching profession.  

I have read many comments online recently from parents finding it hard to support their children working at home - even as a former teacher I find it a challenge (particularly maths and science).

There is one thing I learned as a teacher though that is worth bearing in mind when you don’t feel you have the skills to help; you don’t need to have all the answers, just an idea of where to find the answers and that’s different.

I strongly believe the point of education is not the consumption of facts to be regurgitated (the view of Education Secretaries of the last ten years) rather it is in fostering an inquiring mind that wants to seek out information and that is interested and engaged with the world. 

Perhaps the biggest lesson for all young people these last 12 months has been the realisation that adults don’t always have the answers.

What we are hopefully modelling to them though is how to make the best of a situation and how to cope when things go wrong.

Amidst the clouds of dust and cat hair building up daily Chez Richardson, my kids and I are learning to become a bit more resilient and resourceful.

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