School staff face tests and trials too

As we head into the seventh week of lockdown and home-based learning, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work teachers and support staff are doing to keep their students engaged and learning. We all agree we are experiencing difficult times but, as they say, the job must be done – so we are heads down getting the job done.

Teachers are working extra hours to devise ways to keep students interested, delivering lessons and marking, helping students with technology issues; helping those who cannot attend classes; and contacting parents if students missed a lesson.

People tend to forget that many teachers have children of their own who are also being home schooled, so teachers are juggling helping them as well as conducting classes.

Teachers of Year 12 students have been tested over the past few weeks as the news from the Premier changed daily, especially about whether the Trial HSC would go ahead. First, yes, all Year 12 students would return to face-to-face teaching on 16 August; then no, they will continue with home-based learning. Then in Week 5 we were told it would be up to individual schools or systems as to how the exam would be administered. So teachers had to rewrite exam papers to accommodate students doing the exam over Zoom.

Teachers are flexible and just got on with the job so that students would not be disadvantaged – they'd still have the opportunity to sit a written exam in a modified way.

My appreciation and thanks go out to the principals who have had the job of keeping up with changes and managing home-based learning so that no student is disadvantaged as well as keeping schools open to cater for students who need to come to school as normal.

To our amazing support staff who have been invaluable as always – assisting in lessons, breakout rooms and one-on-one help for students; the ladies and or gentlemen working in the front office, answering calls, photocopying etc; the science and TAS assistants; the groundspeople and library staff – thank you. You make the life of a teacher so much easier with your continued support and assistance.

It is amazing to think that people in government who are making the decisions on when students will return to face-to-face teaching, the lack of vaccinations for teachers and the problems that this issue brings just do not understand the work teachers and support staff are doing. Why don't they ask the people who know?

Yes we all look forward to the term break and I totally agree that we will all deserve it.

Get your vaccination, stay at home and stay safe and well. Keep up the good work and keep smiling.

Chris Wilkinson