All schools across the country will be closed by the end of the week – and many are closed already. It’s such a somber time and a time when none of us know what is going to happen. So I thought I’d take a moment to write something for all the teachers out there.
Dear teachers, teaching staff, school administrators, school governors, dinner ladies, school cooks, caretakers and everyone else that makes our children’s school world go round.
Thank you. I wrote a post at the end of last year thanking all the teachers for the job that they do, the way they inspire the children and the fact they have instilled in LP and Little Man a love of education, a love of learning and a passion for school.
But, a school wouldn’t work without the other staff who are there to support the children. The ones who work on reception, always a welcoming face whether your child is late in the morning, if you’re dropping off something they’ve forgotten or if you’re collecting a sick child in the afternoon.
A school wouldn’t be a safe place without a caretaker to lock and unlock the gates, to fix things when they break and to make sure everything works as it should. Helping anyone who needs it, bridging any gap and being there to literally take care.
Schools wouldn’t cope without the teaching staff who help in the classes, who help to organise clubs and school trips. The ones who sit with the children when they’re sick on a coach, give extra support to children struggling in class and reassure children when they’re feeling lonely or sad.
And right now we’re thinking of all the teachers. The teachers who aren’t going to just go home to self isolate with their children for a few weeks or months. The teachers who are going to have to teach their own children at home whilst planning lessons for our children too. The ones who will still be working from home after the schools close their doors.
The teachers who have been preparing packs for children to take home – complete with pencils in case we don’t have any. The teachers who are making sure every child can access the internet at home. The ones who are letting the children take home an extra reading book and the teachers who I know never stop worrying, and never stop caring.
Those teachers are already worried about the children on free school meals, the ones who don’t have access to food at home, the ones who don’t even have a safe, warm environment to live in, the ones who rely on school as a safe space, respite and care.
We don’t know how long we’ll be off school for. We could be back by May half term. We might not be back until September. It could be even longer than that. But, none of us can think like that. September is long enough but even that seems far too long.
The first half of the school year is hard. It’s cold, it’s wet and after Christmas there isn’t a huge amount to look forward to until the clocks change and summer is in sight.
In contrast, the end of the school year is one full of excitement. Counting down to summer, sports day, summer fayres and so much to look forward to. It’s the end of another school year, saying goodbye to teachers you’ve got to know all year and built relationships with. And this year Little Man is saying goodbye to the Infants too, moving across to the Juniors in September.
And this year none of us can hope for any of that. We are missing the best part of the year at school, with children spending it in their own homes. Without their friends by their sides or their teachers to encourage them.
And that most exciting part of the year is one that teachers love too. I know they do. They love to see how far the children have come, writing reports, giving them tips for next year and hoping they’ll have such an amazing summer after all the hard work they’ve put in.
But this year the future is uncertain, apart from one thing. The teachers will still be there. They’ll still be planning lessons for our children to do remotely. They’ll still be setting topics to work around. They’ll still be offering to help any parents and children in any way that they can where technology will allow it. Because that is what teachers do.
Teachers don’t stop because the schools are closed. If anything, teachers will be working harder because the schools are closed. They will care about every single child out there – whether it’s their student or not.
Over the last week or two schools have been pulling together to keep schools open as long as possible whilst planning for the closures we all knew were coming. Despite being advised to socially distance ourselves, everyone was still going to school, making it a safe environment and doing the best they could do to keep the country moving and children’s educations continuing. I am so grateful to the schools for that.
There are going to be people still making schools function on a smaller scale to enable key workers to carry on going to work. That is key to enabling the country to carry on and I am so thankful that we have schools, teachers and teaching staff who can do that for us.
Dave’s a police officer, we have many police friends and we live in an area with a high number of NHS workers and army families. Although Dave can go to work without the children being in school, many other families aren’t in the same position. Schools remaining open for their children is such an important thing right now but, it’s also a logistical nightmare for the people involved. But they’ll do it. They’ll make it work. I have complete faith in them. Because that’s what teachers do, isn’t it? They do whatever they need to do.
I have a handful of amazing teachers as friends on Facebook and each one has shared a message – if you need help, I am here. Teachers stick together. They want the best for every child and although miles apart from the work of the NHS, teaching is still a caring profession. You need to care or you just wouldn’t, and couldn’t, do it.
So, on the last days of school for an indefinite period I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who makes schools work. You have been undervalued, underappreciated and underfunded for such a long time. But, people get it now. Without you society would grind to a halt.
Thank you teachers. For all that you do and all that you are going to continue doing – for an indefinite period. I’ve told the children that I’ll be their teacher for a while and they’ve told me that I won’t be as good as their current teachers – I definitely have big shoes to fill.
This is a sad time but knowing that all the teachers out there want the same as us – what’s best for our children – really helps. Thank you teachers, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you back at school as soon as we can. We’ll be thinking of you too.