‘It’s scary’: English high school teachers first week | Secondary schools

In EnglandAfter a Christmas break filled with uncertainty about additional restrictions, an increase in the number of Omicron Covid cases and blocking of Christmas plans due to self-separation from family members, students returned to school in early January for a new term.

The teachers had returned to the school only a few days ago, New advice from the Department of Education (DfE) has revealed that all high school students should wear masks in the classroom to prevent an increase in cases of Omicron variants.

The three teachers from England talk about their worries for the first week of their tenure and for the coming weeks.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever known this since I started teaching about 20 years ago.’

“It’s scary,” said Julia, who teaches at a London high school. “We had less than half of our students show up for lateral flow testing before the start of the term and some of our parents did not allow their children to be tested.”

Julia said she is worried because students are reluctant to wear masks and a large part of their staff is sick. “We’re talking about sending students home because we don’t have enough cover,” said the 50-year-old, who has been in the business for about 20 years. “I’m completely paralyzed and have been cowardly twice – catching it again is inevitable at this point.”

She says her school has a large number of underprivileged children and her situation with Kovid has worsened after years of lack of funds. “We don’t have enough toilets so we use portals and sometimes my classroom gets flooded when it rains a lot. At the end of the day, the kids lose.

“I think this is a government-neutral pit and schools are stuck drying up. Announcements are left at the last minute when big-picture thinking will be a big help. At the end of the day, good education happens when you can plan effectively. I don’t think since I started teaching. Schools know this badly.

‘We have a headache’

Tom, 40, an assistant principal at Essex who leads his secondary school’s cowardly response, said staff and student absenteeism have been at an all-time high since the epidemic began.

“Every day, we are testing different age groups back to school and on site. But while we wait for the year groups to arrive, we find that students are testing positive, “he said. I am spending to provide information. We have so much that we have to put them in a centralized spreadsheet. “

The school is well-equipped for distance learning, Tom said, but he is concerned about the lack of staff. “In mid-December, we were hit hard. At the beginning of the holiday, me and 20% of my colleagues tested positive. This was my second positive result during the epidemic. It was clearly unarmed for those of us who couldn’t see our family during Christmas. ”

This period has been done by the school Mandatory wearing of masks has been arranged In communal places, as directed by the government. However, Tom is disappointed that the rules cannot be enforced. “DfE said that no child should be deprived of education if they refuse to wear a mask. Most of our students are really good about it, but we feel a little overwhelmed. DfE does not seem to be able to make that decision.”

‘Not sure how long I can continue’

For Amanda * in Birmingham, the cowardly condition at her school is better than they thought. “We haven’t had more absences during the epidemic than at any other time,” said a secondary school teacher. “Staff absenteeism is very low and our kids have become incredibly consistent about masks.”

Her main concerns are the lack of ventilation and the risk of offset inspection. “I have a CO2 Monitoring in my classroom but no real guidance on how to use it. Reading seems normal but if it is high, what should I do? I have already opened the windows.

‘Workload is a big problem right now. We’re trying to help students catch up, and prepare them for exams and teacher-assessed grades, with the risk of hanging offside. This is a matter of fear for many of us and DfE seems to have forgotten that teachers are not free from the pressure of cowardice, let alone prepare for inspection. ”

With added Pay the fridge from 2021, Amanda and her colleagues are constantly feeling the pinch of pressure. “Earlier studies were a good pay job with a good pension but with inflation at an all time high, and energy bills rising now I don’t know how long I can continue.”

* Some names have been changed.

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