'The children want to be at school': A local teacher speaks out

Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash
Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

This teacher wrote to Parent24 to share his experience of the latest school closures, and how the decision has made him and his students feel. Read his story below.

I walked into the Grade 4 English classroom last Friday, immediately sensing something strange... a very sombre atmosphere and a subdued welcome from this normally lively and excited bunch of ten year old kids.

Trying to turn it into a more positive reception, I excitedly reminded them of the prospect of a four week holiday starting that day.

No response, not a single joyful reply. Facial expressions hidden behind masks and a strange almost depressed expression in their eyes was all I got back.

Upon my question what's wrong with them, almost as a choir came their subdued reply, "Sir, we do not want the school to close..."

Unbelievable response from kids on the morning of the start of their winter holidays.

I was met with exactly the same reception at six different classes from Grade 4 to Grade 7, both Afrikaans as well as English, I taught that morning. Their shoulders were hanging.

Only one learner halfheartedly welcomed the start of the holiday, but was silenced by his classmate who made it clear they disagreed.

The reality that struck me was that the children want to be at school more than anything.

Unlike the cowards and good for nothings who call themselves educators while hiding behind children in order to pocket guaranteed salaries at the end of the month for sitting at home in contrast to many, many parents who have no or drastically reduced salaries to look forward to.

For the first time since starting teaching in 1979 I am ashamed to call myself a teacher.

Are you a teacher too? Share your experience of the impact the 2020 school closures has had on you and your students.


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