Mary-Jo Hill

16 Mar 2021
Communicating through the use of eyes only and muffled instruction must be the hardest parlour game there is.

The in-class mask challenges for secondary school teachers and students will hopefully be short-lived. How hard it must be for all. Masks are way more fun on The Masked Singer.

Never under-estimate the creativity of our secondary school teachers. They continue to react and be pro-active simultaneously in their abilities, whilst holding these changes with all of their students right now. The Masked Singer was the most surprising and successful Saturday ITV event of the year so far. Moreover, the anticipation and reality show and real-time ‘quasi-gamification’ of mask-wearing has been taken to new heights. I loved the quote from the celebrity who having participated, was asked why did he do it? He replied ” Well, I have been in Lockdown”. No explanation needed for wanting to have a laugh, join in and be sociable and entertaining.

The masked singer: School Edition

I have been amazed at the time and effort put in by primary colleagues creating video entries for a Masked Reader lesson for their students. Engagement, engagement, engagement. Oh so hard to gain that motivation from students on-line! And that is why secondary teachers must be facing their own daily battles of mask-wearing, not only for themselves but students in the class. Is this really sustainable? It must be hard to communicate through only the use of eyes and muffled instruction. It must be the hardest parlour game there is.

Wink, blink murder may serve a purpose to ensure that all eyes are on the teacher or on others. It could also be a useful reminder that eye contact can be oh so important. But it is intense and probably short-lived with a discerning set of year 10 pupils… The sweat, heat and discomfort for all in the class. I imagine it will be going to switch a few off quite quickly. Thank goodness for PE. Do we have any schools teaching History through the medium of dance. Or Geography through the mode of football as yet?

I hope that at some point the defeating aspect of this current and cautious approach will be revisited and a more prudent recommendation ensues. The eyes have it. Or the ‘ayes have it’.

Hopes for the future

That term that we hear so much in parliament. The collective wisdom of the secondary teachers is to ensure that they are given enough authority to say that they must be able to unmask in class to ensure some kind of meaningful teaching. This is paramount in what may be a short-lived summer term. We had better make the most of it. We have the ability to be measured and more prepared than ever for what a third wave could bring upon us come Autumn. But we have a Summer Term that needs to be made the best of.

Meanwhile, let’s just see Joss Stone, singing as a sausage amongst a packet of chips. Yes, you did read that sentence. Let’s centre us back to the absurdity we are all living in. Fast forward to 2:50 for the real business.