The constitution of South Africa states clearly that “everybody has the right to basic education” (Constitution 1996). According to the SACE, teachers are to educate and train the learners of our country, acknowledge, uphold and promote basic human rights as embodied in the constitution of South Africa (SACE). The minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekgi proposed the reopening of schools on the 1June 2020 mentioned 11 key parts. From these parts teachers have implications
The report she received about the school progress of the preparations is not a reliable one. Preparations have not been monitored in all the schools of the country especially the schools in the deep rural areas where these schools are still lacking infrastructure, where these conclusions have been taken based on the few advantaged schools. The minister and her team should have prioritised the disadvantaged schools, monitoring and report should be done by the citizens of that specified area as they will report have the authentic report.
The department of education has made a very quick decision with regards to the reopening of schools, life should be the priority as it cannot be returned while education still stands and does not come. It is the educators responsibility to keep the learners safe as nobody feels safe when taking into account all the safety precautions or even measures being put in place because of the way this corona virus spreads, it is not enough to completely prevent the spread of the virus as even the health experts die being infected by the virus, as the number of infected people by the corona virus increasing on a daily basis. The minister of education should not rely on the expertise from other countries as teaching and learning is affected by the environment. The media and experts of health have announced that cold weathers are the favourable conditions of the convid19, how can we reopen schools in South Africa when we are heading towards winter, by doing so we supporting the rapid spread of corona virus not protecting our learners as she did not explain how we are going to promote warmth to the learners and the community as a whole.
Commitment towards the profession accommodating all learners especially if all these learners return to school and it will be impossible for the government to provide schools with classrooms as it has failed doing so within the 25 years of democracy. As the department of education that it is essential for teachers and support staff with comorbidities which have been identified by the department of health should be managed in accordance with the guidelines by the Department of Public services and administration.
When it comes to teachers providing support to learners in means of catching up to lost time, the teachers need to provide learners with extra support, revised lessons, assessments along with extra tuition support.
There is no point in reopening schools if some of them lack in resources. The government must meet its promises to ensure that struggling schools are ready, provide mobile toilets for schools without toilets, water tanks filled with water and sanitation.
In supporting the learners, they must be tested for convid-19 before going back to school and all those tested positive to be isolated and provided by all facilities to recover (personal equipment and hygiene products).
There is a shortage of health expertise in our area with one hospital and one clinic which sometimes has no medicine to help the learners and they seldom come even if invited when the school experience the outbreak of a disease.
The department of basic education, the government, department of health, teachers, non-teaching staff as worked together to ensure that all necessary PPE’s, water , sanitation, nutrition is provided for all schools. The teachers need to show support and work hand in hand with all these sectors to ensure that the students are safe as their safety needs to be priority.
With all that said the priority of an ethical teacher is making sure that the students are safe therefore it comes to say that it is one of the ethical convictions that a teacher needs to have during this time of great pandemic. It is a much difficult task for the educator to adhere in due to how the covid-19 is transmitted from one person to the next. Keeping the learners safe from being infected while in the school premises it is of importance that the educator ensures that the learners adhere to the regulations that where placed to minimise the rapid spread of the virus by using the PPE’s that have been provided to the schools which entail sanitisers, soap, face masks and all cleaning essentials along with maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 m from one another. Reports provided by the Department of basic education show that schools without wait for water tanks to be delivered to them the learners of grade 7 and 12 are to be relocated to the nearest school that has the facilities of water and fully functioning sanitation areas now the way I see it is the educators responsibility to make these learners aware of that decision and make sure that the student attends the classes provided for them.
As we discovered the definition of teacher knowledge when we tackled the first learning unit we defined teacher knowledge as the educator must be sufficiently knowledgeable in their subject matter as a result they will find themselves in a position to teach effectively and be able to respond to the questions the learner will pose and should be able to answer to the learners full satisfaction, Mwamwena,1996,503.
Pedagogical content knowledge features understanding the student’s behavioural patterns since the teachers also need to learn how to become guidance counsellors. Teachers need to be aware of the stigma people create around the covid-19 along with the fear that is associated with the virus. Stigma along with fear can easily rob people of the necessary support they can get from others when able to talk about the issues surrounding the virus resulting in the one either infected or affected falling into a great depression. As teachers we need to be aware that creating a safe space for learners not only helps them with personal issues but also provides professionalism that plays a huge role
The minister of Basic Education announced that the first grades to open would be the grade 7s and 12s and expected that each classroom is seated at 20 learners per class. Teachers teaching in these classrooms have specialised in certain subjects and in a school may be two teachers teaching that specific subject, for instance a school can have two mathematics teachers which basically means that there will be a shortage of school educators causing work overload to the teachers. Secondly, she announced that teachers over the age of sixty (60) years and those which have chronic illnesses should stay at home. This will create chaos at school, teaching and learning will not be effective.
The curriculum planners must trim the curriculum to accommodate the time left. Teachers must use their knowledge and experience to implement the curriculum. Learners should be assessed based on the work that has been done and covered during the first term assessments. Teachers with progressing learners must be fair enough to accommodate the learners which are slow learners as well.
The minister along with the department of basic education must provide schools with resources such as photocopy machines, paper for the teachers to be able to substitute the shortage of textbooks, the government should employ people who will monitor social distancing so that the educators can concentrate on pushing what is left of the school curriculum into what is left of the school year.
Teamwork must be encouraged as it promotes effective teaching. Learners should be placed into groups and taught in those groups. And the teachers must have extra time for slow learners, mentor them and always provide them with feedback. When it comes to teachers providing support to learners in means of catching up to lost time, the teachers need to provide learners with extra support, revised lessons, assessments along with extra tuition support. The department of education worked together with social media platforms to keep students upto date with the content they needed to learn during the first stages of the national lockdown, where services like Zoom, WhatsApp, tv and radio has been used by teachers and tutors all over the country to make sure that the time gap in content and keeping students up to speed has been bridged. Teachers and learners are requested to return to school only if they are found and cleared healthy.
As the department of education that it is essential for teachers and support staff with comorbidities which have been identified by the department of health should be managed in accordance with the guidelines by the Department of Public services and administration.
There should be mutual relationships between parents, teachers and the learners. Teachers must treat learners with kindness, equality and respect. Although teachers help the students learn academic work, they also teach life lessons by setting positive examples. Must show a professional code of ethics thus ensures that students receive fair, honest and uncompressing education.
Teachers must show perseverance and maintain confidentiality, the teachers can help the students by providing them with activities and place them in a common place where they can collect them and do them at their home, bring them back for marking in the same place. After marking teachers can provide the students with feedback because the are places where online learning is quite difficult. Teaching can also be done through social media platforms, for instance during the lockdown the school where my child attends has been sending activities for the child to do through WhatsApp (a social media) platform where the teacher and the parent works hand in hand to keep the learners progress up to date as the parent I would teach and assist the child with the activities provided and send the activity back to the teacher for marking and feedback. Schools need to keep the parents informed about the programme which will take place to keep the learners in the right academic track so that they also comply accordingly.
With regards to the learners nutritional benefits, first and foremost the food handlers or kitchen staff need to ensure that they sanitise the kitchen on a daily basis, receive and clean food deliveries along with checking of the availability of stock to prepare the meals for the students, the government must assist the department of education by providing schools with nutritional parcels to be prepared for the learners on a daily basis at school where the learners are provided with food in the form of takeaways and return home this needs to apply to all students of that particular school where the learners attending even the ones that have not been gradually phased into reopening schools as yet.
The school must have provision PPE’s for the learners, scholar transport learners must be grouped, drivers and co-drivers must be trained on how to protect these learners. All scholar transport operators and public transport operators must put measures in place to adhere to social distancing and ensure that the vehicle is sanitised and cleaned all the time necessarily before and after the use of it.
When the academic day comes to an end the learners must be accompanied by trained covid-19 brigades, so they maintain social distancing and continue with the placed precautionary measures. The government should at least deploy about two inhouse school nurses which will be able to deal with both learners and educators when they feel ill while in the school premises so that they will be the first contact to keep them calm before being rushed to the hospital or home.
All the promises should have been done during the lockdown, the postponement of the re-opening of schools inconveniences teachers and learners as they now become more at risk of contracting the corona virus as some of them are likely to live far from school and have to travel a distance passing through different areas as they move from one place to the other.
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