Skolan och covid-19: del 9
Vi har samlat ett antal exempel och reflexioner från människor som arbetar i skolan, ett försök att spegla den här tiden om än i begränsad omfattning – från när och fjärran, högt och lågt, negativt men också positivt ibland – och vi publicerar några i taget och detta är del 9. (red)
Teaching and Learning
I’m so happy to be back teaching in front of our students. Being able to teach our students our curriculum and the joys of our subject is what I love most about teaching.
However a big benefit of lockdown was my own learning. I think I learnt more about my subject in those few months than I had over a number of years. Colleagues were generous with time and resources and I have developed my subject and pedagogical knowledge to implement in what we’re doing with our students.
A big bullshit cake
I suppose I’d hoped that the pandemic might focus our minds a bit and help us see education a bit more clearly. To begin with, I think that happened. Harried parents were bewildered by the realities of caring for their children 24 hours a day, and teachers inevitably worried about how their students were coping with the unprecedented situation. We all seemed to realise that one of the primary roles of teachers is simply to look after children. I know that some teachers don’t like that (especially in secondary) but I can’t think of anything more important than caring for people.
It was certainly odd and a bit rubbish trying to fulfil these duties over the internet. I felt like I was just trying to help the students to pass the time in as purposeful a manner as possible. I enjoyed teaching the A level students after the exams had been cancelled. We did a lot of stuff we wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to do; stuff that the children were just interested in.
Unfortunately, people seemed to quickly forget that initial awe they felt for teachers and the work they do – soon they just became annoyed with us for some reason. And in the end, all we seem to have learnt is that, despite the vast majority of teachers I’ve met being good, decent people who just want to do their best, we’re trapped in education systems that are mostly bullshit. It’s just a big bullshit cake, layer upon layer of it: It’s meant to be about social mobility, but one third of students must fail; it’s meant to be about levelling the playing field, but those in disadvantaged areas must do more with less; it’s meant to be about education, but we must teach to the test; it’s meant to be about preparing students for the future, but we won’t properly fund or recognise technical qualifications or HE; it’s meant to be about knowing stuff, but of course that doesn’t include stuff about ‘them’!
I don’t know exactly who benefits from all this bullshit: politicians, perhaps; business owning billionaires; University Vice Chancellors; Academy CEOs, maybe. Whoever it is, none of the shit-eating flies seem to want to give up their portion.
I’d like to tear the whole thing to pieces and start again, building from the simple premise we learnt at the start of the lockdown – we’re in the care industry; our job is to look after children.
Anonymous secondary teacher