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I’m Not a Teacher and I’m Sorry

I’m Not a Teacher and I’m Sorry

I was sitting with my daughter this morning trying to work through her maths home-schooling. It was another day of home-schooling. Another day of me pretending I have a clue about how to teach and another day of me realising I was doing a pretty bad job. What was even more frustrating was it was actually the day it’s just the two of us; the day we don’t have her younger siblings distracting us and being noisy. But bottom line I’m not a teacher. She’s distracted. She’s fidgety. She asks pointless questions. She doodles and doesn’t work. Was I really this all over the place as a 6 year old?

The majority of us parents are not teachers.

But we have all been teachers since the end of March.

I still remember the week before we were locked down as Covid-19 swept through the country. Would the schools shut? I remember feeling sick with the wait and finally we found out, that they would shut on the Friday. Many kids were pulled out then and there but I sent my eldest in until the end. Watching her come out with her PE kit and a blank exercise book just made me so sad. I found the schools closing one of the hardest parts of the pandemic (apart from the obvious of course). I just felt so sad for the children. My baby boy and second daughter are younger; they could cope with the time at home and I know the children will probably catch up with their eduction. However, school is so much more than that. It’s time with friends, socialising and for some many a place of safety, with food and warmth.

I know why they shut the schools; of course I do. Children may be low risk if contracting Covid-19 but we needed to protect others and we needed to protect the NHS but even thinking rationally, I still felt so sad about it. We didn’t know when she would go back. I expected September but she returned in early June, on the days I work.

However, I work for 2 days a week and for the rest of the week she is home-schooled with me. Part of me wishes I could sack it off. I know many who have! Have just not coped or their children have just had enough. But I can’t. I know we only have less than 2 weeks to go now but it’s just felt so long!

I'm not a teacher - girl having an ice-cream

I’m Not a Teacher

We’ve had to do a lot of the work alone since lockdown. We’ve had all the work set by the school but none has been marked, there has been nothing interactive and very limited contact with the school on a personal level. When I say limited, I mean none. This has made things a lot harder. I have no idea what the attention-span of a 6 year old is. What are they are expected to achieve in a 45 minute window? How many mistakes are normal? How are they expected to learn math? It’s a minefield.

I always vow to start the home-schooling day calm and collected. I wonder if my eldest will be up for working? Or will it be a huge challenge? Will she struggle with the work or will it be a breeze?

Today she was set some maths to do; revision, stuff I thought she would fly through. She didn’t. It was one of those days where she was coming out with the most crazy answers, completely wrong. I tried to explain it one way and it didn’t get me anywhere. She still looked at me blankly. I racked my brains for a better way, knowing full well my tone was giving my frustration away. How could she not know this answer? We had only done the type of question a few weeks ago but obviously it was forgotten, or buried away in her brain! I knew I was getting cross and I knew I potentially could be making her feel bad.

I’m not a teacher! I wish I knew how to calmly blink and smile when she doesn’t do a capital letter or full stop. I wish I could get over the fact that her writing gets worse as she writes but I can’t help it. I don’t have the patience of a teacher or the skill to work out multiple ways of explaining something for someone who learns and thinks differently to me! Phew!

I think you are worse with your own kids too! I volunteered in reception ages ago and had so much patience for the kids climbing all over me but my own? Nope!

Finally my eldest completed the work with some help. I had to be frank with her. I sat her down.

Basically Mummy is a crap teacher. If I worked at her school I’d get sacked for screaming at a kid who had forgotten her 2 times tables from a week ago. I told her it was me and not her. She laughed. We both laughed.

This Mummy cannot wait for the summer holidays. Fellow parents, however much or little you have managed with home-schooling over lockdown, I salute you! Teaching is a tough job and it’s a job that doesn’t come easily, unless you know what you are doing. Then add in trying to work, trying to look after other kids, trying to keep on top of the house. It’s just impossible.

We have all done our best over a very crappy time and all the kids are going to be in the same boat come September.

We’ve kept them safe, happy and fed and if you’ve managed to “teach” as well! That’s a huge bonus!!

Now where’s the wine?

I'm not a teacher - girl in the woods

I'm not a teacher


1 Comment

  1. July 9, 2020 / 11:46 pm

    I’m terrible with patience too. I know mine (9yo) can do maths easily, but after sailing through fractions over the last year, this week he wasn’t getting any of it. As for English, I know he hates doing it, but he wouldn’t write the poor quality of work at school that he’s writing at home and just getting it done. His spelling is atrocious, but he can spell it verbally if asked, his writing’s sooo boring. I also hear myself getting narky with him. My mum used to moan about my handwriting at secondary school, make me redo homework to her satisfaction and write letters to my teachers telling me what she’d made me do. N’s still got 3-4 years til he gets to that stage, but I know he can do so much better. It’s why we’re not teachers, because we just can’t get the best out of them because we want them to be happy, as well as have pride in their work. The latter is severely lacking, but he’s loving life which is better than many kids. And I’m also working full time at the kitchen table, so at least he’s doing all the work set, even if the writing side is poor. On the other hand, if there’s ever an exam about mating cows with AI, he could lead the class! That’s what he’s been learning from the OH on lockdown. Sigh.