With school holidays on the horizon, but at least another three weeks of remote learning at the start of Term 4 to go (and up to five weeks for some), this teacher is spent. Thoroughly exhausted.
But I am also so grateful. Grateful to our students who have worked so hard, to colleagues who have collaborated and commiserated, but most of all to parents.
The parents of school students have done something truly remarkable this term and they need to be acknowledged for it.
In my role, I have spoken to parents working full time from home while juggling the remote learning requirements of numerous children, parents who have to do most of their paid work at night or on weekends so they can be available to help with schoolwork during the day, parents who have taken leave from their job to focus on their children’s learning.
Every day I call parents who I know have a thousand things to do and more demands on their time than is actually humanly possible. And yet they have always made the time to speak to me about how to support their kids.
They turn their full attention to working with me to develop learning plans and weekly schedules, they join their children’s Zoom calls to make sure they will be able to support their child to complete the activities that follow, they late-night google how to divide decimals, or the structure of a lab report, or how to read music in the treble cleft. They’ve turned the traditional “double shift” into at least a “triple shift”.
And that needs to be acknowledged. The support that parents and carers have given schools and teachers this term needs to be acknowledged. Our students are, for the most part, staying on track, learning and engaging, and, where they are not, their parents are doing everything they can to get them back there. A parent, always a child’s first teacher, is still one of the absolute best.
Of course, teachers have not stopped teaching during this period, we’re working harder than ever, but we have been unable to offer the face-to-face support we know our students need. That is where parents, with all the other competing demands of paid work, other children, caring responsibilities, and everything else, deserve our acknowledgement and our thanks.
They have been the best partners we could have asked for in supporting and teaching our students. So, to all parents dealing with this situation and navigating it expertly, thank you, we see you, and you are doing a wonderful job.