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'I quit teaching 9 years ago. I could never do what today's teachers are being asked to do.'

Last week as Victoria entered lockdown 5.0, my children, along with thousands of others across the country, re-entered remote learning.

In the past 18 months, we have spent over 100 days helping our kids to learn at home, instead of sending them to school.

And I for one, would like to thank the education staff.

Watch: Horoscopes home schooling their kids. Post continues below.


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As a parent of two primary school aged kids, and an ex-teacher myself, I have found the experience of remote learning incredibly difficult - even without all the other competing demands of working from home and the mental health challenges that the pandemic has served up along the way.

But as hard as it has been for parents and as much as we definitely deserve a huge pat on the back (and a top shelf bottle of wine or two for our efforts), it is the teachers and education staff, that I want to give the biggest shout out to. 

While lockdowns are, to me at least, a necessary evil when it comes to getting on top of this pandemic (remote learning being one of the worst parts), this year it has become almost seamless.

Before the Victorian snap lockdown was even announced last Thursday, my two children came home with their remote learning kits and resources which had been compiled that day by their teachers because of the swirling media reports that schools would not be opening on the Friday.

When it was officially announced at around 5pm that night, my kids' ‘desks’ (aka, the dining room table) were already set up with their books, stationery and tasks ready to go for the following morning.

This didn’t happen by chance. It happened because of our teachers, principals and support staff, who are diligent and organised, preparing everything for our kids in advance.

It also happened because these professionals are extremely flexible, adaptable and hardworking.

Side note: Listen to Mamamia's podcast for parents, This Glorious Mess, where hosts Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright chat to author, Sally Hepworth about 'lowering the lockdown bar'. Post continues below.

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There's no doubt in my mind that this pandemic has changed the education system profoundly. It has meant that face to face, onsite learning isn’t always guaranteed and that our education professionals have to find new ways of delivering information that will still engage children, cater to their abilities and be consistent with the curriculum. 

This is not an easy task.

In fact, many of my teacher friends have told me that on site learning is preferred by the majority because that is where the resources are, that is where the appropriate facilities are, that is where the support is and that is where their experience lies. Simply put, it is much easier for them to teach at a school than at home. 

Instead, with remote learning it has meant creating entire new resources, using entirely different methods of delivering information, content, assessment and support for kids, especially those children who are struggling with this situation. And doing it quickly.

It is often easy to forget that they too are people with their own demands and struggles. 

Many teachers have their own kids to support with remote learning at the very home they are also teaching from. 

They have the same pandemic pressures as others, with financial stressors and mental health struggles, yet in my experience, with my two daughters they have never let that show. 

Teachers have not been a priority in the vaccine rollout. But this very real concern has been sidelined for the sake of our children and their education.

Even before COVID, teaching was a challenging career to embark on, which is why up to 50 per cent of graduates (myself included) quit before they reach the five-year mark. 

Those who stay face the job's inherent challenges alongside constant criticism from those who don’t understand what teaching entails. 

They hear the ignorant and incorrect remarks about job hours and holiday time while continuing to teach the children of those same critics.

To all the teachers who have worked throughout lockdown, you have done a brilliant job.

You have guided our children through constant disruptions and unprecedented times, and for that I am so grateful.

Shona Hendley is a mum of two and a former teacher. You can follow her on Instagram: @shonamarion.

Our dear teachers, let us support you during these hard times by helping keep your students safe online with the Safe on Social Schools Toolkit. It's the digital ‘survival kit’ arming teachers with everything they need to know to keep their students safe online. Request more information now.

Feature Image: Instagram / @shonamarion.