When I joined the teaching profession it was for the kids. I loved being in front of a group of young adults inspiring them to be lifelong learners. I understood clearly that I would often take on the role of at school mum, councilor, nurse and overall general “listener” and comforter.
But these last few years have truly taken its toll.
I had thought that after the Lockdown being back on school grounds would be easier. But what faced me were kids who forgot their classroom etiquette and exhaustion due to teacher shortages. Work Creep is real!
I have watched as many of the young teachers coming through the system have thrown up their hands after 1 term and said “This is for the birds.” They are now happy in their changed career.
Last term was even tougher. Staff succumbed to Covid and flu and we could not get casuals…we were covering for our colleagues. Students were sick and staff were being reinfected – an endless cycle.
I spent time working twice as hard as I could trying to create events where parents could come back to our community, while going back to revisit simple classroom discipline strategies because kids had forgotten what it was like to be in a classroom.
I watched as many of my colleagues were reduced to tears and felt bad when I had to take time off. I had Delta in January, Omicron 7 weeks ago and am now down again with Covid (BA4). That makes it 3 times a winner! Why? Because I never clawed my way back from last term, succumbing to a realm of sickness due to exhaustion.
I am in the last 8 years of my career and the thought of changing this late in the game when hubby is at home not working is not an option. Apart from that, I still love my job. Yes, you heard it…even after all of this I still love it. I still want to make a difference.
What I need is for the government, schools, teachers and communities to come together to work through this and find a way to keep teachers in the game and look after us. I do not know what the rest of the year will bring. I am slightly fearful actually of what is ahead. I am hoping someone might listen…someone might take up the cause. People like me want to be teaching but also want their health and well-being. We want to still be in love with our careers, not be hateful of it.