'Teaching is not your job.' A school principal's reassuring message for parents.

Right now, parents around Australia are freaking out. If we’re asked – or told – to keep our kids at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, how are we supposed to make sure they get a good education? We’re not teachers. We don’t know what we’re doing. What if our kids fall behind and never manage to catch up?

A Sydney primary school principal has posted a message on Facebook that’s sure to ease a lot of parents’ minds. Sue Veling, from St Michael’s Blacktown South, explains that parents are children’s primary educators.

“If you decide that your child isn’t going to engage with anything sent home and is going to spend the entire period playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, that is your choice,” she writes. “That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.”

She insists that your child will not fall behind if they don’t do the work being sent home for them.

“This is all revision and reminder work. If children could learn new concepts without specific teaching, we wouldn’t need teachers. They will cover all of this again, multiple times.”

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Veling believes it’s not possible to work from home and facilitate home learning with a primary aged child.


“If you’re trying to do that, stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus is your job, and survival.”

In Victoria, school holidays have been brought forward and schools have shut. In NSW, schools are remaining open, but parents are being encouraged to keep their children at home. As of today, learning has moved online.

Veling does have some suggestions of the “bare minimum” parents could do with their kids:

  • A bit of reading every day
  • Writing now and then, such as a diary or a comic
  • Maths, which could be through cooking or cleaning
  • Fine motor work, such as Lego or tidying up small toys
  • Physical exercise every day
  • Art and music where possible
  • Tasks on Google Classroom for kids who are old enough to work independently
  • Lots of imaginative free play for younger kids

She says she knows parents are doing everything they can for their kids.

“Look after yourself. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don’t let this be something that stresses you.”

A spokesperson for St Michael’s told Mamamia that Veling has had “great feedback” to the message, which she posted yesterday.

“She got heaps of emails from parents from our school and from other schools. Everyone’s been talking about it. Lots of families came just to say, ‘Thank you for the assurance.’”

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The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. 

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Feature Image: Getty.