The Secret Teacher | Please don’t send your children to school unless you really have to

A classroom with a logo of a secret teacher
Support us and go ad-free

We made it. These are the words on every teacher’s mind this week.

Having ‘made it’ refers to getting through to the half term break. It’s a week of no lessons after one of the most trying half terms of most teachers’ careers. Of course, there will be plenty to do (half terms are often just catch up weeks) but it’s a joy to have some mental distance from the intensity of home learning and online teaching. It’s also a time when I will be able to properly limit my contact with other people – a luxury I have not been afforded throughout this lockdown.

School attendance and entitled parents

Which takes me on to an issue that has been plaguing my mind over the last few weeks: school attendance.

While most children are learning from home, a significant number of children are in school. Many vulnerable children rightfully have a place in an environment where they can hopefully feel safe and secure for a few hours. Any decent teacher would not begrudge them a place. It’s part of our duty to help the most vulnerable and try to widen the opportunities of those from the harshest backgrounds.

However, worryingly, there are a number of rather entitled parents who feel that their children should be in school no matter what. I’m talking, in the most part, about certain privileged people (and it almost always is the middle class parents) who feel their work is ‘essential’ when it really is not. I’ve had requests from: a BBC journalist who normally works from home, housewives in million pound houses, fashion designers, and architects. Yet cleaners, police officers, nurses, plumbers, and electricians have not requested a place. It seems that the guidance is just too wide and too open to abuse.

Parents getting smarter at playing the game

During the first lockdown, the list of ‘key workers’ wasn’t exactly narrow. Financial services were listed and I had a pawnbroker demanding a place. The guidance was very clear that both parents must be unable to work from home to allow for school based provision. That has not changed at my school. However, some parents have also become far smarter at playing the game. Previously, my school had around 30 children in from a possible 550. Now, almost 150 kids are attending every day. It seems quite a few parents are taking it far less seriously than before, risking not only the families of teachers but entire communities.

The government has allowed this situation to happen and must take responsibility. However, certain individuals should be taking a hard look at themselves and the possible consequences of their actions. With no news on vaccinations for teachers and a touted schools reopening date of 8 March, where is the protection for school staff and our families?

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

I do hope that we can all get back to full classrooms soon, but the more we mix in large groups, the less chance there is of that happening. So, this is a plea from a teacher: if you have a child and can work from home, please do. You’ll be helping us all in the long run.

Featured image via Wikimedia/LabPluto 123

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us