The Secret Teacher | Teachers want to teach. But not vaccinating us is a recipe for disaster.

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Monday 8 March. The big return. According to some mainstream media outlets, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire teaching profession is desperate for this stay away to continue. Let me tell you, they are plain wrong. Teachers, in my school at least, are itching to get back in.

We are not admin assistants, ICT experts, secretaries, or call centre workers. As important as all of those jobs are, they are not what we signed up for.

We want to teach

We are teachers. We want to teach. We don’t want to be stuck on a computer for 10+ hours a day running glitchy teaching sessions on clunky equipment while answering emails all day from confused children and stressed-out parents. We want to make a difference to children’s lives: supporting their well-being, increasing their life opportunities, and helping them on their way into this often trying and difficult modern world. We can only truly do that with kids in the classroom, delivering lessons.

Going back doesn’t seem like such a leap. As readers of my previous piece will know, in my school we have been teaching around 50% of our normal intake every couple of days due to the government’s lax key worker guidelines. Most teachers understand that filling classrooms to capacity is a vital step in getting this country back open.

Teachers need vaccinations

At what price, only time will tell. Why on earth we have not been vaccinated is beyond me. Not a single teacher in my school has even been offered the first vaccine. It all spells a recipe for closures to come. Leaving us unvaccinated has meant that we can easily transmit across the community. In each classroom, that’s thirty children that have been in contact with me (and other support staff around the school) going home to thirty different households. In secondary schools, the bubbles are even bigger. I’m sure you don’t need a teacher to do the maths on the potential numbers that could rise once more. This, in turn, will mean more possible lockdowns and result in an even longer delay in getting our lives and freedoms back to normal.

This really isn’t difficult. In New York, restaurant workers are now eligible for the vaccine. This has allowed their eateries to reopen for indoor dining: a small freedom. Why can’t we have a similar operational attitude to our reopening? If we did, we might just be having a summer this year.

You may read this and think I’m just another moany teacher wanting to jump to the front of the jab queue. That is simply not the case. What I do want is for us all to be able to do the things we love and see the people we love once more. To get society back up and running. Without vaccinating teachers, that reality is even further away.

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Featured image via Wikimedia/LabPluto 123 and Unsplash/National Cancer Institute

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