It cannot be right that parents and grandparents like me have become teachers

A letter from Gordon McNeill:

By Gordon McNeill
Sunday, 14th February 2021, 11:36 am
Updated Sunday, 14th February 2021, 11:58 am
Much of teaching has become the responsibility of parents and grandparents. Are teachers not safe in the classroom?
Much of teaching has become the responsibility of parents and grandparents. Are teachers not safe in the classroom?

There is growing pressure being brought to get our schoolchildren back into the classroom urgently, and rightly so.

But there is a side of the situation perhaps which does not hit the headlines. It is the question — who is teaching the children?

As a grandfather of 71 years of age I rise from bed at 6.30 to 7am in order to get to my son’s house to ensure that he and his wife are able to get to work, since they are unable to work from home.

Letter to the editor

Later there comes the task of caring for their three daughters, two P7 pupils and one P6.

School work has to be done, but it is not revision, or revisiting work they have done previously in school. I find that I am “teaching” them.

Their worksheets contain work they have not done before, and I have to hark back 60 years to remember what possessive pronouns, antonyms and modal verbs are (oh and Google comes in handy)!

Is it right that this should be the responsibility of parents and grandparents? Are teachers not safe in the classroom?

I know from my grandchildren, that the regime in the classroom of their school was a very strict one, and it meant they studied in safety. Doctors. Nurses, health workers have had to fulfil their duty in work.

When I visit the supermarket I am standing close to staff filling shelves etc and they have to get on with their job. So, why are some protected more than others?

Recently the smallest education union in Northern Ireland suggested the children should not go back to school until after Easter; almost two more months from now.

I have no doubt school teachers can wear PPE (personal protective equipment) just like the rest of us, and still do their job.

Whatever the response, it certainly cannot be right that parents and grandparents become teachers.

Who is going to address this situation, before this future generation loses so much of what ought to be the best years of their lives?

Gordon McNeill, Portadown

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