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Problems of a Primary school teacher

and Covid19

Aely  Female  Hampshire
18-Jun-2020 21:39 Message #4784075
My younger daughter is a Primary School teacher somewhere in Kent. It sounds like a fairly deprived area from what she has told me in the past. She teaches Reception. She has been doing some face to face work supporting children of key workers all through the crisis in spite of her own health problems, She suffers from really bad asthma, takes prescription steroids to support her lung function and had Pneumonia at the end of last year. She has been worried about the virus but was requested to continue working because she was one of only 4 available teaching staff in the school. Others were shielding for various reasons, cancer treatment, ongoing or recent, maternity leave or caring for a vulnerable person. She did have access to several teaching assistants to help her with the 4 children in class as they had to be closely supervised at such a young age to minimise potential health risks.

She is now back at work full time. With correct social distancing (not easy with such young and mostly uncooperative tots) the school was able to increase her class to the magnificent total of 7 children. Because of her own health problems she has to attempt to teach them from behind a barrier of desks. With the strain of the extra children, 2 of whom are autistic but without their specialist help, half of the teaching assistants have walked out.

Her normal class size is 30 children.

So if any of you here support the seemingly common idea that schooling is restricted by lazy teachers or stubborn unions, think again.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London
18-Jun-2020 22:08 Message #4784078
I have a very good friend who was working at her school during COVID but I wasn't surprised because she is absolutely dedicated and her work stretches far past her school hours all the time. Primary school teachers have such a big impact on a child's life.
They are similar to nurses In many ways with the responsibility they take for those they are looking after.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire
18-Jun-2020 22:41 Message #4784081
going purely on what you have put,i think her employer has relinquished their duty of care ?

why didnt they get a supply teacher in, im thinking this might have been viable alternative due to the current situation.

if it was me, being high risk myself, i would have refused to go to work, an infected person with severe cv19 will be out of action for a very long time, or worse still a dead teacher is of no use to anyone.
LadyVera  Female  Cumbria
18-Jun-2020 23:06 Message #4784085
Rightly of wrongly some people can't sit back and do nothing even when they could. Not just teachers and nurses but volunteers and many others.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire
18-Jun-2020 23:17 Message #4784086
Well, for some self presavation is the order of the day in these dangerous times.
eurostar  Female  Merseyside
19-Jun-2020 07:35 Message #4784093
With asthma that bad why did she not get a shielding letter for 12 weeks,? She could still request one I, m sure off her doctor, bad asthma was on the list for sheilding
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
19-Jun-2020 08:27 Message #4784097
The whole going back to school thing is a difficult question and to be fair to the government - and any government - it's one I'd hate to have to make a decision on.
I think Lady Vera summed it up quite well, some people will always help regardless of the danger to themselves.
Lazy teachers and stubborn unions? as in everything there are some like that, I've met them, but I've also met far more who care about the kids they teach and the work they to them for what they are doing.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
19-Jun-2020 11:54 Message #4784120
"With the strain of the extra children, 2 of whom are autistic but without their specialist help, half of the teaching assistants have walked out."

This begs the question of whether those TAs are so wealthy that they can afford to take unpaid leave?

Your daughter's asthma sounds sufficiently brittle as to put a major query on whether she is in the wrong job - given that young children are prone to all sorts of infections which could provoke another asthma attack (with each attack permanently killing off some of the terminal alveoli) - though I have read comments from other teachers to the effect that after 2/3 years in the job their immune systems have learned to cope with most of the usual childhood infections.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
19-Jun-2020 18:52 Message #4784143
It begs the question of TA's contracts, are they employed by the school or are they on temporary contracts that mean they can be hired and fired easily?
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
19-Jun-2020 20:22 Message #4784148
TAs "walking out" rather suggests it was under their own volition rather than being fired - though they may also be on very short term contracts like supply teachers.

Many schools are short of cash due to funding cuts so may well have a heavy bias toward temp staffing.
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire
19-Jun-2020 23:15 Message #4784160
We are all fortunate than some important members of society, often the ones in caring professions, go the extra mile whatever the circumstances.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
20-Jun-2020 11:03 Message #4784192
I think TA's are there to do more one to one and small group stuff with pupils who are struggling for various reasons, obviously that can't happen with social distancing.
Topaz53  Female  Northamptonshire
21-Jun-2020 11:29 Message #4784311
Nothing to add that hasn't already been expressed by
Fossy, Euro and Hot

But nothing gained in being a dead hero
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
21-Jun-2020 12:01 Message #4784315
My daughter works in a school in breakfast club and then midday assistant. She has a degree and could be a teacher but she has ME which is bottom of the barrel in funded research so the WHO think it is neurological but more evidence shows immunological. She's been on furlough but if she caught Covid there is nothing to show she is high risk due t lack of research whereas asthma on steroids is high risk but not necessarily shielding group if well controlled and peak flows stable.

The headmaster has been phoning her every week to see how she is doing, as with all his staff, and he told her how he was struggling with the stress and lack of support or planning and the complications furloughs had brought because many, no, a few staff had missed their half term leave, having to work through for key workers' children. My daughter thought about it and has appreciated his support and flexibility since she got the two little jobs, she offered to volunteer to help out.

It's confusing for me, because on every update I had as a nurse I was told how children were "super spreaders" and now suddenly they are not. I'm not sure if any studies have been done into checking if children are carriers even if they are low risk to complications should they actually catch Covid. I was always taught that the nasal flu for children was introduced because it reduced all who came in contact with children, especially vulnerable grandparents from getting the annual influenzas that get around.

Sea  Female  Essex
22-Jun-2020 08:29 Message #4784394
Hi Aely,
One of my daughters is a primary school teacher and I do get fed up when reading comments in the media etc. that seem to imply that teachers have been on holiday for the last three months. My daughter has been working throughout. She has either had to go in for key workers children or setting and marking work on-line, even phoning up parents to check how children are getting on. She had to forfeit her usual Easter break and half term, although normally some of this would be spent planning the next terms lessons. Normally she teaches 30 children and would be in not long after 7.30 am setting up the class for the days lessons. Lots to sort out after the children leave including seeing parents who wish to discuss their child. Then there is always work to mark in the evenings at home, which can be another couple of hours. And when it is time for school reports again thirty hours writing them up at home. An hour for each child. At the moment she is in full time for year 3 key worker children and has a class of 11 - 12. But at the end of the day they also now have to act as cleaners, as she has to go round disinfecting all surfaces and equipment used. It is also a stressful job, especially when not all children are exactly angels and you are constantly having to get them to behave and at the moment also keep their distance.
Aely  Female  Hampshire
26-Jun-2020 12:49 Message #4784836
Thank you all for your comments. One of the reasons my daughter agreed to continue teaching, apart from her natural love of the children she teaches is that following her marriage in October she moved in with her husband (unsurprisingly) which increased her journey time to a barely tolerable amount. At lockdown they, as a couple, were actively seeking more suitable accommodation than his tiny bachelor pad, to be followed by her looking for employment at a nearer school. She was anxious not to jeopardise her chances of future employment by appearing unwilling to rise to the Covid challenge when her current school really needed her.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
26-Jun-2020 13:16 Message #4784838
It's a horrible conflicting situation and feeling their is no choice if someone feels vulnerable in keeping a job as a result.

My friend, another nurse visited the other day (in my garden) and although she is a specialist nurse in disability and contraception, she is of retirement age and was seconded to an elderly care ward at a huge Manchester hospital as her unit is closed. All but one of her nurse colleagues had taken sick leave to avoid helping out.

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