New Term, New School

New Term, New School

Dani went back to school today for his second term. It was not a new school as such. It was a ‘virtual’ school. An online school. He is now doing what almost all of his class were doing at the end of last term.

The mixed messages from state and national governments leading up to the (partial) shutdown remain the same – confusing. The difference this time is that the school is now telling parents to keep their kids at home unless they (the parents) are essential workers. Otherwise we have to complete a form with a good reason. So here we are. First experience of online schooling.

First task? A Holiday Recount

The children’s first task would be to write a brief recount of their Easter holidays. But first the teacher quickly asked each child about their holidays. Most of them said that they went to the park or just stayed at home. When his teacher asked him, Dani told them everything. He grassed us up. Spilled the beans. A full online confession. He told the whole class including the teacher that we had left Sydney and spent time in another house outside of the city. One of the things the government had told people not to do. The innocence of a six-year-old eh. Hardly the crime of the century though is it? I will not be expecting a visit from the police. Then again…the way things have been going…

Online Classes

It was an experience at least. I sat opposite Dani while typing this post so I could hear the remote broadcast classes. The teacher telling kids to put their microphone on to speak then to put it back on mute when finished.

The teacher did a great job, considering. Having to check which little face on screen was asking for attention. Juggling the children online and repeatedly having to remind them that they were still on mute. It was quite funny and definitely more than a little chaotic at times.

I was expecting all the children to be in their own homes. At the end of last term Dani was the last man (kid) standing. But today there were actually just as many kids in the school as there were online. Clearly some parents, who have had their kids at home for over five weeks, have had enough.

It seems to me that the kids are still enjoying the novelty of this method of remote teaching. I, on the other hand, have had enough of it already.

Girls will be Girls

After a while online, the teacher “left the meeting” to allow the children to do the work she had just explained to them. A few girls remained online and chatted more than they worked. Dani joined in initially but soon got bored and muted them. Don’t talk to me about gender stereotyping. This is happening right now in front of me.

What is an ‘essential’ worker?

All this begs the question doesn’t it? What is an essential worker? Has any government produced a list of what is defined as “essential workers”? If you know, can you please share it? I kind of avoid the “news” as much as possible so I would easily have missed it.

Most of us would say we know; but do we? Of course, it includes health workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics and their auxiliary support workers. Probably we would all agree it means police and fire services. Also, the supermarkets workers. But what else? Nobody else seems to get a mention, do they?

If hospitals and supermarkets are open, then cleaners are needed. Security staff too. Then what if there is a plumbing or electrical problem in those buildings? Surely all maintenance (or indeed any skilled) personnel are also ‘essential’? Similarly, for the trucks that deliver food. They need maintaining. Warehouses need stocking and lorries need to be loaded. Food needs to be farmed, picked and packed. Some foods need processing in factories – with all the support work that those places generate.

Any infrastructure repairs need to be done. Leaving such things will only make them worse. Add to that any services required by any of the maintenance workers. That means all suppliers and associated shops are required. The more I think about all this, the more I am of the opinion that almost everyone doing any physical work is an essential worker. That really just leaves office workers who are used to doing work on their computers. Especially council office workers – who don’t do a great deal anyway.

Finally (for this post) the schools must also be considered ‘essential’. They are operating. Even if it is online.

One thing for sure. Personally, I do not qualify as an essential worker. I just qualify as a non-worker.

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