A teacher has reached out to Aussie Leaders and the Australian Education Union in a bid for them to reconsider the measures taken to control the spread of Coronavirus.
Mandy* explains why she isn’t exempt from the panic that has taken the world by storm.
Her public Facebook post read:
Which one of you can advocate for teachers right now? On the one hand, you are quarantining people, telling them to practice social distancing and calling a state of emergency, while on the other hand you are telling teachers to operate with “business as usual”.
Your disrespect for the profession is astounding—not one of you has given the rationale of keeping schools open for our primary purpose, which is education. Instead it has been about the economy, about freeing up medical professionals and about keeping kids away from their grandparents. You all see us, it seems, as babysitters and quarantine officers. I am trained to be neither.
Today I went to my workplace surrounded by 1700 people in close quarters. Then I drove home in record time (everyone else working at home means no traffic, yay!), BUT I didn’t go to the gym and I didn’t go to my hockey game… because I’m meant to be practicing social distancing in my personal life. My netball competition was canceled because apparently the 3 feet rule in netball isn’t enough for social distancing (pushing through crowded corridors at school is fine though!).
You say schools shouldn’t close down until there is a confirmed case—but you won’t test people anymore unless they show symptoms, and have also informed us that children DON’T show symptoms. I am stoked for my students that they are unlikely to get extremely sick from COVID-19, since children seem to be okay right now. But, in a wild turn of events, it appears that teachers are NOT the same age as children. We are adults, who are just as prone to sickness and viruses as all other adults.
Teachers are working so hard right now to ensure that we can still run classes online and that all of our resources will transfer well to digital spaces. We are doing extra professional development, putting our marking and usual preparation on the backburner… all to get an email from the Department of Education thanking us for being calm, and receiving mixed messages about whether all of this extra work is a waste of time or not.
Do you know who IS advocating for teachers? Doctors. Medical professionals. Thousands of signatories are calling for you to take stronger action, including CLOSING SCHOOLS. And if you’re not willing to do that, at least please cut the bullshit and tell us what you really think.
*Name changed for privacy reasons