On Monday, it was announced that NSW public schools will return to the classroom full time from next Monday, two months after COVID-19 restrictions forced around 800,000 children to study remotely.
“It’s a normal school week from next week and they need to be attending. Rolls will be marked as normal and unexplained absences will be followed up,” NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said on Tuesday.
However, many teachers are not pleased with how they discovered the return to full-time schooling, with NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos saying the union had not been consulted before the government’s decision.
He said teachers had already planned for the previously announced staggered return to school, with face-to-face learning gradually scaled up throughout term two.
“This caused a lot of concern, frustration and anger among teachers and principals across the state. They turned themselves inside out not once, not twice, but repeatedly, trying to come to terms with this crisis,” Gavrielatos told ABC television.
“This is a pandemic that we find ourselves in… that’s what makes what happened last night even more important and more disrespectful.”
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Mamamia spoke to five teachers about how they discovered the news of the return to full-time schooling, and how they feel about it. Here’s what they had to say.
Primary school teacher, NSW.
I went on Facebook last night and saw an article and was shocked! I checked my staff emails and there was no information. I messaged every other teacher I knew and no one had any idea except for seeing it on Facebook.
We all found this out through Facebook, except for those who don’t seem to have social media, who found out when Gladys Berejeklian announced it this morning. The principals were not informed so they were unable to inform us!
There has still been no official communication from the department or our union. It was infuriating to find out on Facebook! But I don’t blame any principals or teachers or the Department of Education, as they all found out at the same time as I did, in the same way. Which is disgusting!
I think it’s been a really hard time to navigate. I have been frustrated by the way we’ve been treated, but I don’t blame anyone.
Year 4 teacher, NSW.
I work at an independent school and our headmaster has been communicating with all the staff as decisions are being made. Obviously independent schools have more autonomy about how we will return to school but we are being informed by the appropriate government agencies.
Although we don’t know what’s happening with lots of notice, it’s often because the decisions haven’t been made to give us notice about.
We have been very well looked after and very included in communication.
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