The disregard for teachers during Covid is the ultimate proof of a vilified and undervalued profession
Teachers have long known that their profession isn’t appreciated and Covid has made that even clearer
I’ve always known that teaching in the UK is an underappreciated profession. Successive governments have underfunded schools and colleges and right wing media has continued to lambaste and brand teachers as lazy. Furthermore, the hackneyed belief that teachers are always on holiday, and off home at 3:30 each day, continues to be ignorantly peddled even by some parents.
The pandemic presented an opportunity to change that. As key workers, teachers continued to work during the first national lockdown. Schools remained open for children of key workers and vulnerable children and teachers continued to provide remote learning for all other students. While the country was locked down, teachers remained on the front line.
It should have signalled the government showing its gratitude for a profession that for so long, it has shown disdain. It was a chance for attitudes from parents and the wider public to shift as homeschooling, and being with their children without any respite, prompted a newfound appreciation for the job teachers and support staff do. Alas, none of that was forthcoming. Instead, the pandemic has shown just how much disregard there is for the profession.
Where the hollow gesture of weekly clapping for the NHS gave the impression of appreciation, for teachers, the silence from a lack of recognition has been deafening.
Teachers and school support staff are forgotten when acknowledging professions where workers are most at risk during the pandemic. Consider the accepted approaches of social distancing and avoiding crowded spaces. Meanwhile, teachers spend the day in crowded classrooms with 30 children at a time. Social distancing in schools is an absolute myth and the notion of bubbles is burst when you consider that children will mix with others en route home and come from hundreds of different homes within each school.
When, on the government’s direction, schools invited select year groups to return before the Summer break, I asked students how they…