There’s a tree in the park down the street that grows on the edge of a main road. The road is part of a busy junction where the city and the suburbs come together then break off into every direction branching out across Melbourne. The tree is a river red gum that has stood at a crossroads for between 300 to 500 years or so it says on a plaque where it stands; a wonderful sign that doesn’t claim knowledge that can’t be proved.
No one really knows how old the tree is, its age is an estimation based on what is known about trees, this native is thought to live up to 1000 years or more. However old it might be it is the last river red gum standing where there were once many, and it is far older than any other living thing that I have seen in the city where I live.
Teachers being called an essential worker at the onset of lock-in was a nice thing to hear about the profession but felt like a back-handed compliment. Teacher’s pay did not go up. There were no benefits provided to reflect the words being bandied about by those in power stating how grateful they were for the essential service.
Life got harder. The job went from teaching, to teaching and learning a new system, and teaching beyond the teachers’ subject of expertise to guide students to learn online, and embracing new technologies that had been mandated by institutions in response to government restrictions. Whew! Essentially it was exhausting, like running on the spot in a bad dream while chained to a desk.
People all around were being paid to stay home and do nothing but teachers were asked to stay home and do more with no extra pay.