Laptop screens stood no chance at breaking the charisma, passion and motivation of the ‘Hidden Heroes of Covid-19’ or more commonly known as, teachers. Assistant head-teacher of Gumley House School FCJ, Juliette Claro, opened up about the unspoken realities of what managing a school was like during Covid-19; the long-term effects and her own advice for students, nowadays.
Throughout 2020, a limelight was shone on the effects of Covid-19 for students and their education. As a nation, we followed along with the Government’s every rule and restriction implemented to keep us safe, either at work, school or at home. Constantly changing, Covid-19 restrictions disrupted education for millions of students over the UK. Having being put into a lockdown, the ease of communicating face to face was no longer familiar to us and it was clear technology was the only way to reach out to others, in such unprecedented times. Articles upon articles were produced on the disturbance of school education but the topic of teachers was always shunned off to the side. While there were many clear difficulties of the effects of Covid-19 on student education, teachers were behind the curtains, working tirelessly to make sure the journey of online learning was as smooth as possible on a rocky road.
Assistant head teacher, and a key figure in the modern foreign languages department, at Gumley House School FCJ in the heart of Isleworth, Juliette Claro, expressed her views on the difficulties of managing a school during the pandemic. She played a large part in keeping morale and hopes high for not only students, but for their families and her staff members at Gumley. Despite how easy it may seem to join a zoom call or keep in touch with others online, there were a multitude of concerns that came to Miss Claro when she first heard the news of a lockdown. She was one of the many ‘hidden heroes’ that kept students going by, “delivering devices to families, DATA dongles, we delivered food vouchers and made phone calls every day to students ghosting.” along with, “working out as a team how to best support all the students.”
Miss Claro revealed how disheartening it was for the media to brush over the demanding work of teachers, “Teachers were the forgotten breed of the Key Workers on the media.” However, all heroes must juggle their personal lives too; so, while teachers all over the UK were battling the consequences of Covid-19 in schools, they were simultaneously battling its consequences in their private lives. When asked how she juggled both these things, Miss Claro responded with, “Juggling is the right word – you juggle! During Covid-19 it was hard to switch off at home because home learning, and safeguarding and child care is 24/7!” As well as, “Managing home life was tricky at times especially for teachers with younger children.” Unquestionably, the caring efforts of teachers followed them not only on the job but off it, too!
Nonetheless, their resilience shined bright when teachers worldwide continued sharing positivity and joy upon their students. Surprisingly, when asked what her source of motivation was Miss Claro exclaimed, “The kids! Students are amazing and seeing all their work on the Padlet, looking at what they were doing and still being amazing positive human beings – that was the best motivation in the world.” While we have gradually eased away from the rocky roads of Covid-19 and returned back to the school environment, teachers, nationally, have proceeded to build on their plans of restoring a sense of normality in schools. Miss Claro and other members of faculty at Gumley House School are, “working relentlessly now to support students moving forward and addressing any gaps in their learning,” Teachers have gone the extra mile and made sure those of which that missed out on any learning are returned back on track with the aid of support sessions in literacy and numeracy.
After such abnormal events, Miss Claro picked up a few things that she’d like all students to recognise and remember: “Believe in yourself and trust your teachers – they are on your side and are there to help you flourish and leave school to be healthy, happy human beings who can make positive contributions to the future society. We trust them to do just that!” Furthermore, “Be kind to yourself and to others, work hard and all will be okay.” With the help of teachers nationwide, peace amongst the school environment has been restored and for this, their achievements deserve to be acknowledged and cherished. Thank you to all the ‘hidden heroes’, everywhere.