As Australia and most other parts of the world start locking down to try and flatten the coronavirus curve, there is one glaringly obvious omission from the shutdown. Schools are officially remaining open for the time being, meaning that teachers need support now more than ever.
It’s worth pointing out though, that despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting that schools remain open, States have taken matters into their own hands. New South Wales schools are open for people who don’t have any other option, but parents are urged to keep their kids home. Victorian school holidays are being brought forward. Tasmanian schools are open but parents are being told that they can keep their kids home from Wednesday. Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory are in a similar boat.
The reason given for schools staying open is that kids are less affected by the virus, and cancelling school will just mean more kids out in public. But teachers are reporting feeling “expendable” and like “a glorified babysitter” whose “health and wellbeing is no longer important.”
It’s a tough time right now, but there are a few things you can do to support the teachers in your life.
Michelle Obama has suggested things like signing up to volunteer at your local school, or just something as simple as calling up a teacher and asking what you can do to help.
Even if you can’t offer anything to help, just call your teacher mate and let them rant to you for a bit. We all know how much a good rant can help, so if you’ve got the time to listen, then emotional support is always appreciated.
Let’s be real, they’ve probably spent the last few weeks being yelled at by parents, so just having someone to tell them that they’re doing well would mean a lot.
When we come out the other side of this mess – and we will – it would also be good to remember the responsibility put on Australia’s teachers. They kept showing up to work during the pandemic and making sure that our kids were taken care of, despite the fact that doing so has been putting them and their families at risk.
For now, anything helps. Call up a teacher, ask how they’re doing, and most of all be kind to one another.
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