We need to help teachers get back to what they do best. Picture: iStock
We need to help teachers get back to what they do best. Picture: iStock

Teachers need support to get on with what they do best

There have been many debates over this time of coronavirus school closures in Australia.

As governments grapple and words sling, unions battle and teachers and parents struggle to make sense of their new world, education in Australia has become a political battleground. There is nothing really new in this, but if ever there was a time for decisions around the education of our littlest to near-adult Australians to be apolitical - this was it.

Instead, we have seen the opposite and the end result is confusion for parents who just want to do the right thing by their child and their school.

Most parents have a good relationship with their teachers and most teachers want nothing but the best for their students.

 

As the curve flattens and we head back to school we need to ensure that rhetoric shifts to the key purpose of schools – which is to educate. Picture: iStock
As the curve flattens and we head back to school we need to ensure that rhetoric shifts to the key purpose of schools – which is to educate. Picture: iStock

One of the most annoying arguments that has been fuelled by social media fury is the home schooling versus home learning debate.

Teachers are angry when the term home schooling is misused as it seems to flippantly forget that trained teachers actually designed the work. And it is likewise infuriating for parents who feel they have been overlooked in the rather crucial implementation of this work.

This of course is just one piece of the puzzle, where the main game has been should schools be open for face-to-face teaching or shut.

But as the curve flattens and we head back to school, we need to ensure that rhetoric shifts to the key purpose of schools - which is to educate.

News Corp Australia is supporting getting teachers and students back into safe classrooms and schools by calling on governments to be clear about the transition and detail what resources teachers will receive so they can run catch up education programs to see how much work students have missed.

In conjunction with teachers and parents we are asking Governments to ensure schools are safe for students and teachers, with additional cleaning and supplies of sanitiser and soap. Additional requests include supporting teachers with free flu shots, on-site teacher COVID-19 testing in hot spots and a commitment to hire additional teachers to support the transition.

 

These items are about making sure the transition back to face-to-face learning is seamless and safe.

But just as important is that teachers be given the time and space to focus on individual children to assess what they may have missed during these months away from schools and where they need to catch up on.

There is no question there are many teachers who have been caught in the political crossfire while parents have been desperately trying to keep some semblance of schoolwork up and students have been missing out.

If it is safe to do so, let's get kids back to school and give teachers the support they need to get on with what they do best - teach.

Clare Masters is News Corp Australia's News360 national education editor.

Originally published as Teachers need support to get on with what they do best



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