Teachers’ response to coronavirus sparks parents gratitude

What Birmingham parents are saying about teachers in lockdown.

A new survey with parents of primary and secondary school age children, released today1 and commissioned by the Get Into Teaching campaign in support of national Thank A Teacher Day2, reveals the scale of newfound appreciation for teachers up and down the country.

80% of parents in Birmingham who responded to the survey agree that over the course of the coronavirus restrictions they have developed a greater appreciation for the job teachers do, and more than three quarters (77%) agree teachers nationwide have gone “above and beyond” over this period.

Based on their experience supporting home education, almost all parents in Birmingham agreed that being a teacher requires a lot of patience (95%), and keeping young people engaged in learning takes a lot of creativity (95%).

The Thank A Teacher campaign, run by The Teaching Awards Trust, is calling on children and their families to join forces today to thank the teachers and school staff who go above and beyond and profoundly impact their lives.

Craig Smith (pictured), a PE teacher and Head of Year 10 at Ark Kings Academy in Birmingham said: “It really is humbling to hear that so many parents are feeling so appreciative of our efforts. Being a teacher always allows you to make a real difference in the world, but I’ve felt a heightened sense of purpose during these extraordinary circumstances.

“School leaders, teachers and staff have pulled together in hugely challenging circumstances to keep schools open for those who need it the most and find innovative and creative ways to support our pupils.

“We try to ensure there is regular contact between the school, pupils and their families so everyone is supported in these unprecedented times.

“A few examples of this are teachers setting work for pupils to complete at home, keeping our community classroom open for children of key workers and, each week, we have been preparing and delivering food and equipment parcels for any of our families wanting some extra support.

“I’ve been touched by the heart-felt messages of support and ‘thank yous’ from pupils, parents and the wider community – it’s created stronger bonds between us all and has helped keep me motivated over the last few weeks.”

Some of the biggest challenges parents in Birmingham identify when supporting their child with home learning include:

52% find it hard to keep their child motivated to complete work set;
49% find it hard to keep their child engaged in the work they are doing;
36% find it hard to help their child with work they don’t understand; and
30% find it hard to come up with creative ways to make subjects interesting.

91% of parents surveyed in Birmingham are grateful to the teachers who positively influence their child, day in day out. Children themselves also seem appreciative, as more than four out of five (83%) parents say their child is missing their schoolteacher and being in lessons while schools are closed to the majority of pupils.

Steve Munby, Chair of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “We have always known the incredible lengths that teachers and other school staff go to for their students, and these results show how much parents have grown to appreciate this work.

“This annual campaign is our opportunity to thank the incredible teachers, lecturers and other staff who keep our schools running, who inspire wonder on a daily basis, and who do everything in their power to give our young people the best possible education, whatever the circumstances.”

Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb said: “Teachers, head teachers and support staff have shown outstanding professionalism and commitment during these challenging times.

“They are doing an incredible job in finding innovative ways to continue young people’s education at home, be it through online lessons, set work or motivating phone calls with pupils.

“Now as we prepare for more young people returning to school, and as the country takes careful steps towards recovery, teachers and support staff are playing a vital role in ensuring children continue their education in these unprecedented times.”

Using the hashtags #HowWillYouSayThankYou and #ThankATeacher, pupils and their families are being asked to come up with their own creative messages of thanks to celebrate their teachers and wider school staff, for example by singing songs, reading poems and recording video clips.

An inspirational teacher makes all the difference. Find out how to share your appreciation for a teacher you know by visiting thankateacher.co.uk