To say I was disheartened today, by the way teachers have been represented in the news – as angry, mistreated and disenfranchised professionals, unfairly being expected to go back to work “early” in NSW – is an understatement. What has the world come to when advocacy for the profession paints a picture of teachers in a manner that is in direct opposition to the way many of us feel about our work. Could it be that this picture portrayed today of teachers – as victims of the system, concerned for their own needs ahead of the needs of our students – is not truly representative?
As an educator and as a principal of a new school about to open on Sydney’s north shore, I wish the stories today had captured the voices of teachers who are in fact thrilled about the early return. The voices captured by the media today from educators should have included individuals and a collective shout of joy! Imagine if the news had been balanced with messages of relief and excitement from teachers who have been missing their work “face to face”. Teachers relieved that we’ve made it through this long and by no means ideal situation. Teachers who are running back to the classroom to welcome back students with open, albeit socially distanced, arms.
And the notion that teachers won’t be ready in time… I get that if you’re talking about time to get vaccinated or you’re arguing there is not enough ventilation in your learning space. But presuming those two issues can be addressed, I don’t get it if we are talking about teachers needing time to be ready for students! Really? Why? What is so hard about getting back to the delicious reality of ‘business as usual’ where we get to see students and colleagues face to face. See you later Zoom and hello real people! So just to be clear – there are many teachers, not angry but thrilled, to welcome your children back to school a little earlier than expected.