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You’re forgiven.

It’s possible that it was actually a bit of fun for you … while it lasted.

There were videos played in the media of teachers dancing for students, of online mental health programs, of parents completing hands-on maths sessions with their kids.

There was love out there for our teachers.

But, I’ve seen a shift in the last few days.  I’ve seen criticism rise from parents to teachers.  I’ve seen vitriol directed from politicians to school leaders.  I’ve seen kids, including my own, growing a little less enthused by the latest online lesson and the undoubted ineffectiveness of teaching music online.  

Music isn’t something you really learn online because it’s something you feel.  A lot of learning is like that.

Nothing’s quite right.  Everything is just a little bit skewwhiff.

And it doesn’t matter.  If I was the Education Minister (and to be clear, my aspiration for that mantle is less than zero!), I wouldn’t pit our educators and parents against each other right now.  

I’d just forgive them.

I’d forgive every government School Principal who is so desperately stretched in catering for disadvantaged kids whose entire wellbeing is underpinned by the connection and purpose that your school provides.  

I’d forgive every independent School Principal for any guilt or embarrassment at being unfairly painted as a grubby money-grabber in times when all you seek is to be generous to others.

I’d forgive every teacher in all of their schools for any frustration at being attacked for simply following orders about when students should return.

I’d forgive every educator who has run a failed or dodgy Zoom lesson.  I’d forgive them if they forgot, momentarily, that education is more than uploading worksheets to Moodle or completing workbooks.

I’d forgive every parent who found it hard to manage remote learning lessons while cooking dinner and worrying about elderly family members themselves.

I’d forgive them all anxiety about, and ask for forgiveness myself, that they’ve been left as amateur epidemiologists scrambling to make their own assessments about how safe classrooms are to learn in and how safe schools are to work in.

I’d also apologise for making it worse.

Personally, I’m sorry that this has been such a tough time for you all.  I see you all.  

I want you all to know that the work you’ve done has been valuable, honourable, visible and worthwhile.  

You amaze me.