Teaching During A Pandemic: What Teachers Want You To Know

Picture it: Ireland 2020. It was a balmy September and we were all allowed to send our kids back to school for the new academic year. It had been six months since they had attended. For most of us, it marked the end of a really rubbish time since the global pandemic hit the country the previous March. We dropped off the kids and went shopping, met a friend for coffee or got back to work. There was a sense of victory in the air. Some of us (me) contemplated an 11am G&T to celebrate.

Fast-forward to February 2021 and our schools have remained closed since the Christmas holidays. We are all acutely aware that the COVID case numbers have been alarmingly high in Ireland since Christmas. Keeping everyone safe and at home is the absolute correct thing to do. But… it’s not easy, is it?

And while none of us are crazy about trying to navigate remote learning with our kids at home, I know that teachers are in a very strange position too. This is not the career path that they chose as educators. This is not their dream situation in terms of imparting their knowledge into our kids’ minds.

As a mum who has two children in a small-sized primary school, I think that we are in a very fortunate position. We feel very supported by our kid’s school. The teachers are doing an excellent job in remaining a huge part of our kid’s lives while supporting their ongoing education. But it can’t be easy for them either.

I asked a few friends who are educators and this is what they want you to know about how things are from their perspective:

  1. Remote learning is not an ideal scenario for anyone; parents, teachers, SNAs and especially the children.
  2. We are trying our best to stay positive and find alternative ways of engaging with the children, week on week.
  3. Every teacher has something different to bring to the virtual table; new teachers, more experienced staff, SEN teachers too.
  4. We want to keep our student’s interactions with us meaningful, fun and personal; whether that be via Zoom, phone calls, YouTube videos or one of the various teaching platforms available.
  5. We are all trying to help each other, the children and the parents to access the best platform to suit unique family circumstances where possible.
  6. Keeping lines of communication open between school and families or students is a vital ingredient in making this all work.
  7. Positivity helps everyone to keep driving forward and school communities are so important to help keep this going.
  8. We want everyone to be safe but we really look forward to getting back to school as soon as possible!

Well, this mam says thank you very much for all that you are doing, guys – we appreciate you all!

Sharyn Hayden

Sharyn is the author of comedy smash, 'I Forgot to Take My Pill!' (Amazon) and mammy to two amazing kids, Jacob and Eva. She blogs at RaisingIreland.com and is the creator of Skinny Batch Bakery in North Co. Dublin.

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