Teacher Life – #TestingTimes

Well, hello there, Peeps!

It’s me, back again, musing on a Thursday abot the strange world we’re living in, especially the world of schools.

As you know, I’m not a huge fan of remote learning, and honestly, there are very few teachers worth their salt, who would honestly say they prefer the systems in place now, as opposed to face to face teaching.

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I won’t wax lyrical again about the same thing, though.

A quick update. Week one was much smoother than I had imagined, and I embarked upon the calls for week two, as well as having students in the classroom, it being my turn this week. Aside from two parents who asked about the possibility of Zoom, or live lessons, everyone else was pretty happy. A few needed a little urging, again, to make sure they were helping their child to access learning, but there were at least a few who made a point of saying how happy they were with everything we were setting.

I’ve received photos of work, and even some wonderful videos of children demonstrating their learning. It warmed my heart!

Right. Update done.

What I was going to discuss today was the testing regime that has been suddenly flung into the picture today by the DfE for teachers in Primary School.

‘Apparently’, all Primary schools are going to be sent sets of Lateral Flow tests for school staff to utilise every day, if someone was to test positive, who was a possible close contact, I think, or maybe it’s a set of tests we are all to do every day? Still no clear guidance… surprised? I’m not!

So as long as you are getting negative tests, you keep coming in to work.

Though, these LF tests are around 50% accurate, so we may still end up in school, actually positive, but with a result that said negative…

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And if you test postive? You have to go and get a proper test, and isolate for 10 days.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t mean we end up shutting schools, if the ‘inaccurate’ tests tell a whole staff, or the majority, that they are positive!

Oh, well, onwards and upwards, eh!

Teacher/Key Worker Dilemma #CoronaVirus

Hi!

Teacher from the UK here, reporting for comment.

It is a truly tough situation for everyone involved. A couple of days ago this Tweet went out… and there has been some interesting debates about it. Are we, as teachers, being FORCED to go into schools, with a higher chance of getting ill? How dare we be made to put our lives at risk?

I thought I’d respond in my own Ritu-style.

Yes, we are being asked to come into school to help with the care of key worker children. Key workers have been asked to try and arrange care at home, if they can, but the option is there for them to bring their child into school so they can go about the essential jobs, such as the medical profession, grocery and provision shop workers, delivery drivers, the emergency services, postal workers, pharmacists etc, all of whom have to keep going to try and keep this country running on a skeleton level at least.

Yes, it is childcare, rather than teaching – some may say glorified babysitting. But I’d rather do that and know that there are enough nurses and doctors out there to help with the huge influxes. I’d rather do that, than see people fighting for even less food because the delivery driver called in to say he or she couldn’t drive today because no one could look after their kids. I’d rather do my bit to allow these other key workers to do these things, so we still function, at some level, as normal (the new normal).

We have been told that the curriculum should not be being taught, at primary at least, as where is the fairness in a handful of children getting that education, when their peers are at home, not getting it? We have been asked to send home age appropriate learning, so the children can reinforce what they should already know and challenge them. We have been told to give parents ideas for other ways they can help their children still learn, while at home. The older ones are getting Google Classroom treatments, with regular lessons and activities posted online.

In school we are embracing the creative curriculum. Lots of arts, crafts, PE, music, reading, story time. (I’m still aching from joining in with t he kids. to. do the daily Joe Wicks work outs!)

No, we haven’t been forced into germ-ridden conditions, or at least, I know my school hasn’t ‘forced’ us to come in.

On the day of lockdown, it was requested that everyone come in on the Monday as no one knew exactly what would be happening. How many children would we be dealing with? Did we need to provide meals for those on the Free School Meal schemes?

During the course of that day, my head, and her Senior Leadership Team, who are doing amazing things in such a tough time, approached any members of staff with either old, vulnerable or young dependents. They were told they could go home and not come back until schools officially reopened. I could have been classed in this bracket but my kids are a little older, and more self-sufficient, and they have their dad at home as well.

The rest of us were put on a rota to be with the children that have been coming in.

No one is being forced to come in. Those of us who do, all want to do our bit to keep things going for all. My Head is in every day, regardless.

On Monday, I will be on duty with the kids who are coming in. This is probably the riskiest thing to be asked to do, as a teacher, as young children do not understand social distancing, as we have been told we need to maintain. How do you stop a four-year-old from wanting to hug you? How do you keep children two metres apart? The other days I have been in. I have been accessing and completing paperwork that I can’t do at home because of GDPR.

I am a mum too.

This is a tough decision for anyone to make.

The fear that you might just bring that virus back into your own home because you might be mixing with the child of a key worker who has been exposed to the virus.

My family know that when I come home, after a day at school at the moment, I will have been washing my hands constantly, and anti-baccing myself before coming into the house. I will shout a “Hello!” then head to the shower, wash and change into fresh clothes before seeing them.

I am a Key Worker, as a teacher, and as much as I can, I want to do what I can to help out, in this crisis, too.

Thank you, and good night.

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One Liner Wednesday – #1LinerWeds – Teacher/Mum Problems

“Being a teacher and a mother is a really tough double role; you are paid to spend your days nurturing other peoples’ kids, yet feel guilty within, if you need time to look after your own…”

Ritu

By no means is this a dig at anyone who I work with.

I am lucky with my management team. They totally understand that family is a most important part of our lives, and that work/life balance is key to happy teachers and success at school for all.

No.

I am talking about that internal tug of war we educators will all feel, at one time or another, if we decide to start our own families.

The amount of times I have had to argue with myself about letting my class, the parents, and the school down, if I end up taking a day or two off because own child is unwell…

It’s silly really, isn’t it?

Obviously my child should come first, and they do, believe me, but I am also lucky that under normal circumstances, I have their grandparents to help out if they are under the weather. If they are really bad, there are times only mummy will do.

But times like now, when the in-laws are away, it gets hard.

Take today for instance.

Lil Princess was battling with a severe headache on the weekend. She woke up on Monday with a slight ache still, but wanted to soldier on. Dosed up with Calpol, she went to school but I worried about her a lot, as she wasn’t right, and I also had the added joy of Parent’s Evening that night, until 7pm…

She walked to her grandparent’s house at the end of the day and developed a really bad cold, which was what the headache was a precursor to… Head cold. No fun.

Tuesday, she was full of it. Bunged up. Head ache, cough. Temperature.

It was awful for her.

My bro and sis in law were both home and they had already offered to have her the next day, as they knew I had another Parent’s Evening and they happened to be home.

But I felt so bad.

I know this parents meeting is really important. But so is my kid.

Again, I feel thankful. I am lucky enough to have a solution to childcare. And the offer of her being there today too, if she is still not right, is reassuring. I am not fobbing her off on anyone. But the guilt…

The guilt that I am projecting on myself… I should have stayed at home. I should have not thought a toss about work.

Yet I did.

And I left her… (in good hands, of course)

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Written for Linda’s #1LinerWeds Challenge

September 13 – Flash Fiction  – Pasta – Preschool Style

Charli’s prompt this week:

September 13, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spagetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

Pasta – Preschool Style
“Okay, today we are making Mother’s Day gifts for your mummies, grandmas, or aunties.
What I want you to do is take the string in one hand, and pick up a piece of pasta.
Remember, the other day, we painted it?
It’s like a tube, and you can thread the string through it, and make a lovely necklace.
No, David, you can’t eat it.
Penny! Stop strangling Julia with the string!
Peter! Don’t tip the tray upside d-…
Don’t worry Mary, we can pick it all up, stop crying, please…”
The life of a pre-school teacher.

https://carrotranch.com/2018/09/13/september-13-flash-fiction-challenge/

The Onset of Inset Days #BackToSchool #TeachersLife

You know what time of year it is now, don’t you?

That end of holidays, getting-back-into-a-normal-routine time.

Rushing-around-finding-uniforms-and-stationery-supplies-time.

That having-to-get-up-early time.

Yes.

School is about to start up again for thousands across the country.

Responsible adults need to drag those affected from the addictions of late nights and lie-ins,  screen and social media that six weeks off has allowed, and bring them back to reality.

Yup.

Teachers – we are going back to work!

You see, it’s not just kids that have to gear themselves up for that September start.

Us educators need to brace ourselves for that new academic year start too!

You’d think after our epic long holiday, we’d all be full of energy, having had NO WORK for all that time…

Aside from the fact we’ve probably been working for in excess of fifty hours a week, during the academic year (and being paid for only 32.5 each week – standard – in our contracts, no such thing as claiming overtime as a teacher) and totally deserve a school-free break, it’s probably not been the case at all.

Teachers around the country will have spent a few days, at least, in their new year’s classrooms, clearing, rebacking boards, labelling, organising, moving furniture, writing up class lists for various things…

Then the rest of the time, we chill out and get drunk every day we firstly sleep off the exhaustion of the previous year (unless we have kids, in which case, good luck – Busman’s holiday, anyone?!) then try really hard to forget school for a little while, but any trips to the locality brings our profession back to mind, as we inevitably bump into several ex-pupils, current students or parents!

Or, everywhere we go, an educational opportunity arises, which means notes need to be taken, for future reference.

Yes, we will spend inordinate amounts of time on screens, but if you peek over our shoulders, we are likely to be on Pinterest, filling new boards with fantastic topic ideas or YouTube, finding great videos to share with our class!

Shopping trips will be peppered with impromptu visits to stationery shops, or bargain shops, where we find things that would just be wonderful in the classroom, and because we might not find them again, in pops teachers hand into own pocket, and suddenly there is an almighty hole in the bank account that we probably won’t be able to claim back… but it’s for the kids, so, you know…

We may have managed to squeeze a proper holiday into the time too, and emerged tanned and relaxed, or more exhausted than when the departed!

Still, all good things must come to an end, and all that, and here we are on the cusp of the new academic year.

Time to get ready for meeting our new classes, forging bonds with new members of staff, commiserating with those of us who are still there,  getting used to changes that will inevitaby be applied, because the government thinks things need doing differently… that sort of thing.

 

At least we have two Inset days.

Sometimes, Inset days are my favourite days.

Because we are at school – with NO KIDS! (Neither Pupil, nor Personal – you get my jig?)

Yes, it can be a day filled with pointless training (but equally, we can have inspiring speakers in who actually help!) but you also get time in your classrooms to organise, (yup, it needs redoing, because the cleaners will have been in, and though your room will be sparkly clean, the desks will have been moved around and nothing will be exactly as you left it. FACT!)

But no kids means you can get your teacher head back on, before the onslaught arrival of your new batch of prospective devils precious pupils.

Time to get familiar with the routines again, and get as up to date as you can with the endless paperwork, so that when the children arrive, you can actually teach them, rather than spend the time ticking boxes. (Though that will still play a huge part in your daily life as a teacher – some things never change…)

Then, on Monday, it’s back to work with a WHOOSH!

So, as you happily dress your little angels and pack them off on their first day back, thankful that you don’t have to deal with the daily meltdowns for all 24 of the hours, take pity on the teacher you are entrusting them to… teachers like me!

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL my fellow teachers!

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