When all this COVID stuff hit our radar this past spring, I was impressed with the Premier’s approach. It truly looked like “we’re all in this together”. In fact, I blogged in favour of the actions that he and the Prime Minister were taking. We didn’t necessarily like the measures that we were asked to take but we took them.
Then, somehow, things changed. There was a determination that we were somehow coming out of this and rules were relaxed. Then, we went through different stages of treating things, later to be dealing with colours.
Amidst all this, we started to see exceptions to the rules. We now know that big box store are OK, smaller retailers aren’t and we’ve got kind of a mish mash of things happening in our world.
With all these rules, we’ve come to understand that there will be exceptions to the rules. I’d like to think that they’re carefully thought through but some of the decisions just befuddle me.
The latest puzzle starts today. Despite the province being in a lockdown situation, there are essential services that have to continue. The government has a plan for “Targeted Emergency Child Care for School-Aged Children”. The City of Windsor has details of the plan here. By visiting the page, you can see the list of approved sites to provide the childcare and then this big list of people who are eligible for the plan.
If you look through the list, it’s difficult to argue with any of those professions. While I haven’t worked in any of those ones, I value those who do and the functions that they provide.
It’s just who is missing that really upsets me. Educators!
School resumes today, as ordered by the Ministry of Education. For the most part, it will be remote teaching but there are certain educators that are required to be back in the building, face to face with students with special needs, without consultation.
So, despite the Premier coming out to news conferences telling us how he loves educators, they will be forced back to teaching with no provision for care of their young children. To be fair, there are educators who don’t have children or do have children but they’re old enough to work independently and aren’t affected as much as others. I hope that they look around their virtual staffroom and feel the pain that their colleagues with younger children are enduring.
In my social media feed recently, there have been two messages that I’m seeing over and over.
- The promise from the Minister of Education that teachers would received “training” on online teaching before school resumed in September and people letting us know that it didn’t happen other than a missive to “use Google Classroom” or “use Brightspace” (regular readers know that I hate the expression “training” when it comes to educators. You train dogs…)
- The true concern of not having a solution for caring of their own young children who can’t be left alone. Many are reporting that they’ll have to enlist the help of grandparents who were otherwise alienated during Christmas because of the directive to not have family gatherings. Others are planning for a modified “take your kid to work” event. Others, as I write this on Sunday morning, are just plain worried and have no plan
I’m also reading that some school districts aren’t prepared at this time for moving their elementary school classes online with technology. Some have indicated that today will be spent contacting students’ parents to find out who needs to borrow school technology. Now there’s a JIT (Just In Time) solution.
In spite of all this, teachers are consummate professionals. At personal expense to their own health, finances, and well-being, they will make this week happen. They’ll use their personal devices because often school purchased equipment doesn’t come with suitable cameras or microphones. They will learn on the job the value of having at least two monitors to get the maximum benefit from the online teaching experience. Secondary school teachers have had the first part of the year to refine their skills; for others this will be all new for this school year.
They’ll play by the rules because they came into the profession to do the best job that they can as educators. They will make it work because there is no alternative.
Rules are rules.
Until the next exception comes along.