As a Retired Teacher…………………

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    As a retired teacher:

    “I want to give a huge shout-out and salute to teachers, this evening, who are now being put on stand-by with the stupidly overdue school closures in the UK. Many of them are sharing their contact information and professional credentials on social media, today, offering to help any parents who might be considering trying to forge ahead with home–schooling – offering advice, resources and their time to support the students we stay in the job to help in the first place.

    Ladies and gentlemen, you are absolute legends and I am proud to stand beside you.

    Now, if you're a parent considering taking up the mantle of teaching yourself, in these uncertain times, here's what I'm able to offer by way of support from afar:

    1) You're not allowed to shout at them.
    2) You can't drink at work – and certainly not before.
    3) Never threaten anything you can't follow through with.
    4) Keep them off their phones for the duration of the school day.
    5) If they complain of being bored, then you're obviously not interesting or inspiring them. You need to work on that urgently.
    6) No bullying. You or them.
    7) Homework is mandatory. Set them research tasks to work on in the evenings.
    😎 Give clear regular targets – to aid progress, not to stop them bugging you.
    9) No swearing. And good luck with that.
    10) If you encounter poor behaviour, you can only send them out of the room for three minutes at a time. When you re-admit them, schedule a conflict resolution session. Your thirty minute lunch “hour” is perfect for this.
    11) For every critical or negative comment you are forced to make, ensure you balance this out with no less than seven points of praise.
    12) If you have more than one child, ensure you differentiate the learning material so that each child can access and achieve in the lesson. No, colouring-in doesn't count as differentiation. Except in geography lessons.
    13) Ensure your child maintains correct uniform at this time. Standards are everything…. even when the uniform of the Apocalypse is only pyjamas.
    14) Ask a neighbour from a rival home-school to drop in on you uninvited and observe your lesson through the window. Afterwards, let them spend fifteen minutes telling you all the things you did poorly. Then have them publish their notes in the local newspaper.
    15) If you don't feel confident in delivering lesson material, learn it. The internet is there for information just as much as it is for political shit-stirring, good old-fashioned dishonesty, cat pictures and morons who refuse to vaccinate their children. Although that last bunch have really fallen off, of late.
    16) Marking is compulsory and should be done every evening between the hours of 6.30 to 11.00pm. If your child is too young to produce great volumes of text for you to critique, simply pick up a newspaper, circle every tenth phrase in it, then write your own thoughts on it in the margin. Encourage your child to read these comments at the start of the next lesson. Feign surprise when they don't bother.
    17) Vitally important: if teaching literacy, make sure you include some numeracy in the lesson at some point – no matter how arbitrary. But, no, counting the minutes until it's all over doesn't count.

    Now, should you be really enthusiastic about sampling the full experience of the professional teacher, these closing points may help flesh it out:
    1) Everyone thinks you're doing a terrible job.
    2) Everyone thinks you're bone idle and only work for five hours a day.
    3) Stop complaining… you're always on holiday.
    4) The Government not only hates you, but it will routinely publish criticism of you as an individual and will misrepresent your profession to encourage everyone else to consider you worthless.
    5) Feeling stressed? Yeah, that's a thing. Oh, and that brings us to…
    6) By the end of the year, if your child hasn't made at least two levels of progress, you better be ready with a cast-iron excuse why not. “Because they're lazy and never listen” is not going to cut it. You should, instead, put on a hair-shirt and beat yourself in front of a committee whilst pledging to work harder next time. Whilst fellow parents stand in a circle around you and reiterate points one to three.
    7) Now… do this for thirty years, safe in the knowledge that your pension will be halved for no reason. If you make it as far as retirement.

    Most importantly: love and value the kids that are sitting in front of you over the next few weeks. We always do. And it's never been for a wage-slip either.”

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