Parents and teachers of kids across the nation, stop it!
Calm down, relax and remember none of us is at school.
For all my time in schools parents have said, “I couldn’t do your job.” They’ve been talking about managing the behaviour of so many children. What they didn’t know, and didn’t need to know, is that each teacher is in love with their subject and knows quite a bit about it, too.
So when we asked teachers to set work, they set tons of it, never thinking that their own teaching skills and knowledge might be needed to help kids do the work.
I cannot do much beyond mental arithmetic in Maths and don’t go telling me that this is a good opportunity to learn alongside the children. Can’t do sciences, can’t speak French or Spanish and I’m no use at all at origami. I know I should have learned, now leave me alone with my failings.
Teachers: please set one piece of work per year group per week. Kids who want to do more can find loads online. These are not normal school days so don’t expect every child to do 3 hours study a week for your subject, and the other 8. And who says every home has a computer for each child and each adult working from home?
Parents: if you get an hour’s schoolwork a day out of your child, celebrate by letting them read a book, watch nonsense on TV, do some gentle social media or play a computer game. Stop trying to teach them the school syllabus.
This is Day Two out of, possibly, 100. Let’s try and get through it without too many tantrums about school work.
Year 11s and 13s, we will gather you together to celebrate your achievements later in the year. Your teachers and the other staff with whom you’ve worked want to say goodbye and wish you well, face to face.
I have a theory that now is the time the majority of people will show that we are good people, kind, caring and considerate. The idiots have always got the attention as they shout, threaten, argue and boast – and they will always be there.
Our staff are volunteering to help every day in many different ways.
Let’s quieten the frustration and fear, the uncertainty and boredom by the odd walk, a touch of optimism, faith in ourselves and our communities in getting through this.
And students: don’t work too hard.
Dennis O’Sullivan (Headteacher)