These last few months for teachers have been very difficult but you have all risen to the challenge to continue to provide a top-quality education for your students from a distance. You have done this because you love and care for your students. As parents, we are profoundly grateful. I can’t imagine the hours of preparation time for materials and resources, not to mention the time spent learning how to use online platforms such as Zoom, and reading all those extra safeguarding documents relating to doing online teaching. Thank you for your commitment to our children, for being willing to undertake all this extra workload during this stressful time, and for doing so while at the same time (for some of you) managing your own children at home.
For many of us, home-schooling has been a forced decision due to the Covid- 19 lock down necessities. We are trying to make sure our children continue to learn whilst at the same time continuing to work our own jobs from home. We have not had time to think about all the educational issues involved. For those parents not from a teaching background this must be an even greater challenge. Therefore, the support given from school has been vital, and we thank you for being there to help and guide us.
Access to devices and good internet connection has for some been a real concern. Some families have siblings all needing access to follow their classes. For some parents trying to understand and monitor their children’s use of technology is overwhelming. Different children react to screen time and online learning in different ways. Thank you for your patience with us as our families come to grips with the technology and work out the balance of how and when to use it.
Both the BBC and The Guardian have noted that Zoom meetings can be wearing and people are experiencing feelings of fatigue. This must be true for you teachers spending more than usual amounts of time online and in Zoom. Please look after yourselves and remember to take breaks away from the screen! If this fatigue is true for adults, it is also the case for children, so help us to think about the balance of time children need to be in Zoom class and the amount of work being set. We want what’s best for our kids, and we know you do too.
Many thanks also to you for being genuinely concerned for your students’ well-being during this unprecedented time. Thank you for the time you have taken to phone our families and check how they are doing. Good communication has also really helped us to support our kids’ learning and understand the school’s expectations.
Finally, thank you for your continued prayers for our children. Your prayers do not go unnoticed or unheard (Psalm 116:1).
From a grateful parent.
 “The Reason Zoom Calls Drain Your Energy.” BBC Worklife, BBC, 22 Apr. 2020, www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting.
Gordon-Smith, Eleanor. “Zoomed out: How Can We Politely Tell People We’d Rather Not Chat?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Apr. 2020, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/16/zoomed-out-how-can-we-politely-tell-people-wed-rather-not-chat.
Rosalyn Smith is a Teach Beyond associate member. She has worked as a school librarian, Research Skills and Music teacher in the Philippines and Malaysia. She is a mother to two boys aged 9 & 11 and currently lives in the north of the UK.