NSW mum blasts principals’ online teaching ‘edicts’
A stressed out mum has blasted school principals for issuing unrealistic homeschooling edicts to working parents who are trying to keep their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But teacher groups are urging mums and dads to be patient with school staff who are under the pump as they try to deliver work to every student remotely.
Dulwich Hill Public School mum Yvette McDonald wrote an open letter to principals on Monday explaining it was impossible to be a de facto schoolteacher and do her job from home.
"Before leaving the house this morning, in compliance with your edicts, I was sure to perform a digital 'check- in' for my children so they could be marked "present" for school," Ms McDonald wrote.
"All children must clock on and clock off during two very specific and quite narrow windows. Twice a day. Every day.
"It appears you have assumed that all parents: - have a school bell that rings at 9.15 and are able to structure their day to have everything wrapped up by 3.15."
"I really appreciate the thought and professionalism that teachers have employed … But we need to talk about how the environment in which students will be learning has been designed."
She said parents working from home could not teach, direct and motivate multiple children who are each doing different tasks, especially without access to sufficient devices with unreliable internet connections.
"What has been designed is fantastic for learning in a classroom overseen by teachers who have one job to do. Not so great for parents managing a full-time job in an environment that is often not fit for purpose."
In response to the letter, NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos urged parents to be patient and said school staff were working incredibly hard to ensure every child's education could continue.
"These are challenging times and teachers and principals are doing their very best to look after the educational continuity for children," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"People talk about online learning as if it is a simple thing but these things are easier said than done … everyone is trying to do the best they can."
"This is a time for patience, it is a time for respectful relationships, recognising this is difficult for everyone."
Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour said teachers understood what parents were going through at the moment.
"It is much harder with younger kids … it is difficult if you only have one computer you have to ration that," he said.
An Education Department spokesman said the community response to COVID-19 will be a challenge for every teacher, parent and student.
"The department would like to thank all parents for their support and patience at this time as our schools are working exceptionally hard to adapt their programs for students learning at home and school," he said.
"Our schools, including Dulwich Hill Public School, are working hard to adapt their learning from home processes and tools as they hear feedback from parents and students.
"Dulwich Hill Public School, along with every school, is trying to communicate to parents and students as clearly as possible so they can support and understand each family's requirements."
Originally published as Sydney mum blasts principals' online teaching 'edicts'