The pandemic has completely transformed our everyday lives. But the problem of where and how children are getting their education has become a particularly hot topic, as they can and do get infected and transmit the coronavirus to others.

Should we shut down schools? Should we reopen them? Should teachers with underlying health conditions return to schools? What are the prevention and control measures to be put in place in schools? These and other similar questions have been bugging politicians, parents, and pretty much everyone else involved in teaching since the beginning of the outbreak.

Caught in the middle of the argument are the teachers. They keep adapting to new regulations, delivering both on-site learning to some children as well as lessons to others.

And while there’s certainly a time and place to discuss these processes, one headmaster from London, United Kingdom, has had enough of parents contacting his school only to complain that the teaching staff is doing badly. Here’s the letter he sent them.

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    People think the last paragraph’s gold

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    In the US, similar debates have also been raging with teachers at the center of the talk — whether vilified for challenging it or praised for trying to make it work.

    Conducting more than a dozen interviews with educators, Natasha Singer wrote in The New York Times that teacher burnout could erode instructional quality, stymie working parents and hinder the reopening of the economy. “[They] described the immense challenges, and exhaustion, they have faced trying to provide normal schooling for students in pandemic conditions that are anything but normal. Some recounted whiplash experiences of having their schools abruptly open and close, sometimes more than once, because of virus risks or quarantine-driven staff shortages, requiring them to repeatedly switch back and forth between in-person and online teaching,” the text said.

    And it’s not just the disease to be feared. Teacher Jeffrey Boakye said they’ve all seen the past year how kids’ exam results, and thus their futures, can hang in the balance of government algorithms. Or how social inequalities can so easily lead to material deprivation and financial instability. “A generation of young people are staring down the barrel of an exam system that Covid has shown to be precarious,” Boakye explained. “When students have put their faith in your promises as a teacher, you start to wonder if you’re part of the problem or the solution.”

    One thing is clear, though. Mindless criticism doesn’t make things better. And thank you, headmaster, for reminding us all about it.


    And they loved the way the headmaster stood up for his staff

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