'Second-class citizens' the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland’s teachers
December 10, 2020
We read with huge sympathy today (December 10th) about the Glasgow teacher who has written an open letter to the Education Minister for Scotland, John Swinney.
Elaine Robertson penned the letter, which has since taken Facebook by storm, on behalf of Glasgow Southside Teachers and Support for Learning Workers after the secretary’s refusal to extend the Christmas break.
Whilst suggesting that the decision put their families at risk, Elaine crucially noted that the teachers as a group feel “devalued”, something that has become a running theme for many across the UK.
"As teachers, we are utterly and completely committed to providing the best learning experiences for our young people. Elaine’s letter has become a major talking point on social media and in both the Daily Record and The Scottish Sun. Here’s what she had to say:
To ensure that happens we teachers have to make sacrifices on a daily basis. This means we sacrifice time with our own families, we sacrifice time for ourselves, we sacrifice our own health and well-being for the sake of our young people.
We work through holidays. We work weekends and evenings because we can’t possibly plan for the provision of high quality learning experiences during working hours.
During the pandemic schools have not closed... teachers did not stop during the pandemic."
Elaine says she has not had a response from the SNP minister, although a Scottish Government spokesperson did respond, noting among other points that;
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our teachers for their hard work and dedication in the face of very challenging circumstances.”
The spokesperson went on to say that;
"We appreciate that teachers and school leaders need and deserve a break over the festive period. Supporting the health and wellbeing of teachers and other staff is of paramount importance.”
Welbee is pleased to see that the wellbeing of teachers appears to be on the agenda in Scotland but perhaps it shouldn’t have taken Elaine’s impassioned efforts to make this clear.
We feel it should be a priority across the UK, because if Elaine and other teachers are feeling like “second-class citizens” that simply is not good enough for them or indeed for their pupils in the longer term. Let's hope they are heard.