Skip to main content

Three years ago I left teaching because I have small kids and the inflexibility of the job made it that much more tricky. My son and daughter are at two different schools and I have many friends who remain in this profession; I have to reiterate my admiration right here and now for teachers who are teaching during this pandemic – good grief, and I thought I had it tough!

Admittedly many pics are shared by my friends with perhaps a glass of gin instead of water while marking Matric English papers amidst teaching online and offline and onsite; I simply can’t keep up.

While I had a Zoom catch up with my besties- that’s all we can do while the third wave is upon us – I questioned the unthinkable, perhaps even the unattainable and boldly blurted these words:

Surely teaching now is a tad easier as parents aren’t knocking on your door?

Now I normally pride myself on my high levels of EQ but I could feel the tangible death stares among them and they looked at me in dismay. One kind soul decided to, very politely, break it down for me so that I could fully comprehend this dire situation:

Although teachers have far less parent interruption because Suzie’s mum isn’t allowed to fetch the forgotten homework book or Raymond’s dad can’t locate his water bottle on the rugby field, these poor individuals’ workload has doubled, no in fact it has tripled.

What we are not seeing is the overflow of emails that need to be responded to because parents aren’t allowed in the classroom or on the premises, the hybrid lessons that need to be prepared for, collating work for those children who are in isolation or families who have chosen to immigrate, preparation for all these online and onsite lessons, ensuring all recordings of lessons are uploaded for those offsite who want to learn online. That sentence alone sounds exhausting! And dealing with anxious parents, anxious children and yet these amazing people show up, face the pandemic, teach but more importantly instil a sense of calm while perhaps the brave aren’t feeling very brave at all.

When she unpacked all of this – not forgetting the basic deadlines and marking that goes with the job, I just had a sense of overwhelming admiration for teachers. In what profession does one carry an emotional load like this and still do the job? I am dumbfounded that these teachers continue to teach in this current climate while still awaiting vaccinations, should they choose to have one, a year down the line – doesn’t that just measure the extent of their compassion and dedication to making a difference every day?

To you gorgeous humans, thank you for loving louder and choosing kindness. I hope you know how valued you are!