Here is an interesting article from the Independent. Apparently, us teachers should now be prepared to sacrifice our lives to prove that we are committed to our profession. But I thought it was now “safe” to reopen schools. Have I missed something? Is that an admission that reopening of schools is not safe right now? And since when exactly did teaching amount to martyrdom?
This is part of the article:
The former head of Ofsted has said that teachers need to show a “similar commitment” to medical professionals, who in some cases have “sacrificed their lives.”
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former chief inspector of schools, said there has to be a ‘pulling together’ among teachers and that they have to exhibit the same level of devotion as medics who have “gone the extra” mile during the pandemic, in order to get children caught up with their studies when schools return early next month.
“You have to compare this to the medical emergency over the last year and the commitment on the part of medical professionals and nurses and doctors.
They’ve gone the extra mile at great cost to themselves and their families, their health – they have sacrificed their lives in some cases. We need a similar commitment from the teaching profession over the next academic year.”
And out of interest: should Ofsted Inspectors be asked to martyr themselves too? I am sure Sir Michael meant well, but the thought occurs: those wonderful people in the medical profession signed up for that and have shown themselves to be heroic. The pandemic hit and was beyond anyone’s control. The children being sent back into schools is not such an external factor: it is a government decision, not a pandemic beyond anyone’s control. I, for one, have been looking after keyworker children and vulnerable children throughout, when most people were in lockdown at home and at the same time sending out/marking online learning and paper copies for those that do not have internet access. So what is the “extra mile” the government want from me now? If it is the idea that teachers should be prepared to give their lives to support the government’s decisions, then this is something I do not really understand. Yet this is what this man seems to be saying: the government are expecting teachers to be prepared to sacrifice their lives so that we can send children back to school. If not, then what does the “extra mile” mean? Does he really mean that I have to die? Am I an uncommitted teacher if I don’t sacrifice my life for my profession?
I know I set out with a “non-partisan” intention on these lockdown diaries, but I have had enough now: I really don’t want to live in a country like this any more. Brexit was one idiocy and made me ashamed to be British; the way the leaders are handling this crisis and the double standards between the way top government officials speak and look after themselves, flaunt the lockdown rules in some cases and what they ask the lowest face to face public sector workers to do may just be one step too far. So here is an idea: if Ofsted inspectors can not do visits to schools right now, why not send them to take the place of unpaid volunteers in Covid testing centres and vaccination centres? I am really pleased that I have not used any invective in this post. It was hard…