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How do teachers feel about wearing masks to teach?

(80 Posts)
windyautumn Mon 31-Aug-20 19:34:28

Been reading a lot about this today and it feels like it won't be long before masks are mandatory in schools which is probably the best thing all round for suppressing transmission.

I was curious about how teachers feel about the practicalities of wearing a mask more and more (especially as it's all been about children currently!).

If it was mandated, how do you feel about teaching for hours with one on? Do you feel you can connect with new classes and students if everyone has a mask on? How will you overcome communication barriers with SEN students etc

I'm a speech therapist so I worry about SEN children but I'm particularly worried about voice misuse for the teachers!

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Railingsohno Mon 31-Aug-20 19:39:58

I couldn’t do it. I’d feel faint. Acoustics are bad enough as it is in my school. I’m following guidelines and socially distancing where I can from pupils. I do go and help them but keep it as quick as I can and use technology to demo/ get feedback. Still figuring it out but apart a large class of 17 year olds in a pretty much unventilated room I feel ok so far.

Icedteaplease Mon 31-Aug-20 19:40:42

I am currently pregnant and find masks make my breathlessness worse. I imagine I would actually be exempt and would probably need to not wear one as I struggle to breathe if I wear one for any longer than about 15 minutes. My voice is sore today just from teaching 7 classes so I can't imagine how difficult it'd be if I was wearing a mask.

FinnyStory Mon 31-Aug-20 19:41:46

I wore a mask for an hour for a manicure today. I was gasping for a drink by the end of it. They seem to suck all the moisture out of me. To do that whilst trying to keep a class engaged and on task?

Librarybooksandacoconut Mon 31-Aug-20 19:48:03

I’m really worried about this happening. I teach EAL pupils 1:1 or in small groups and have had to wear a mask once (at the insistence of the class teacher). It was awful. It’s hard enough for children who are learning English to understand their teacher, but when you remove facial expressions and muffle your voice they struggle even more and effectively become excluded from the learning (particularly if they are doing whole class work). I hated it - it’s one thing to wear it in the supermarket or bus for an hour where you’re not really having to talk much but a completely different thing having to continually talk at volume for 6 hours. I actually felt quite panicky after only 20 minutes and I’m normally fine wearing them.

MissClarke86 Mon 31-Aug-20 19:53:01

I wouldn’t mind and would do it, but in terms of actually teaching young children particularly would find it very hard to understand us fully without being able to see our mouth. The few shops/cafes I’ve been in I’ve found myself having to shout to be understood because in environments with low level background noise it’s hard to hear properly without lip reading.

We’d be better with visors maybe, but I’m aware they’re less useful without masks underneath.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 31-Aug-20 19:54:17

Pretty sure I'd be fine with it. The more I wear one, the comfortable with it I am.

DeepTreacle Mon 31-Aug-20 19:55:43

My husband teaches at secondary and he is not in favour of teaching in a mask

Jenasaurus Mon 31-Aug-20 19:57:54

A friend sent me this about masks, and it is an eye opener

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrPCgh4UkAU

Frlrlrubert Mon 31-Aug-20 19:58:49

No problem for me, but screens/visors might be better for any pupils with hearing loss or other communication needs.

CarrieBlue Mon 31-Aug-20 19:59:01

Wouldn’t bother me. I’d prefer not to, but then I’d prefer not to be in a pandemic. One of those things to suck up and get over.

nutellatoast Mon 31-Aug-20 20:01:54

In terms of how I would cope, I don't think I would. I struggle wearing one for 10 minutes going into a shop. I just find them so hot, and hard to breathe in. In terms of communication when teaching I would find it really difficult as complicated information is hard enough to get the kids to understand as it is. So much would be misheard. I would also need to shout to make myself properly heard by all the class which would be exhausting and make it even hotter and hard to breathe in.
I am happy to wear one in communal areas like corridors but hoping not to wear one in classrooms or my office. I would be happy to wear a visor.

ConfusedPanda Mon 31-Aug-20 20:02:13

I'd hate it, I'm really worried it will become mandatory. I'm still on maternity leave at the moment so at least I don't have to worry about it for a few more months.

monkeytennis97 Mon 31-Aug-20 20:03:18

Fine. No problem.

itsgettingweird Mon 31-Aug-20 20:08:38

FinnyStory

I wore a mask for an hour for a manicure today. I was gasping for a drink by the end of it. They seem to suck all the moisture out of me. To do that whilst trying to keep a class engaged and on task?


They make me thristy too!

I brought a sports bottle with the straw thing that flicks up and drink via the bottom of the mask!

No idea if this is recommended!

I would do it if needed. But we are special and so do go outside frequently and can remove them for this. So I guess my situation is different.

profpoopsnagle Mon 31-Aug-20 20:09:48

I wouldn't be in favour, and as 'helpful' they are supposed to be in suppressing the virus, I think they would have a negative effect on teaching and learning. Masks may stop those with the virus from passing it on. Most people do not have the virus.

I wear specs so they steam anyway, but a mask and specs means that most of my face would be covered. So much behaviour management, control and teaching is done via non visual cues for all age groups, but especially for younger children.

You talk all day when teaching. All day. The masks would get damp extremely quickly and would need to be changed so frequently. I think the dampness could cause an higher incidence of throat and other infections, such as cold sores.

I also think this last point is valid for children- wearing a mask for a quick 20 minutes around Tescos is not the same as wearing your mask all day long, when you are expected to talk a lot as part of the experience.

I know lots of people wear masks all day long in their job- surgeons. But it would be like asking a surgeon to wear woolly gloves when operating. Yes they could do it, but the apparatus would impinge on their ability to do the job well.

PheasantPlucker1 Mon 31-Aug-20 20:10:33

I teach secondary and will be wearing one. Mines quite comfy, after the first few minutes I forget its there.

If I was to get covid, I want to know I have done everything I can to protect the kids I teach.

Uhoh2020 Mon 31-Aug-20 20:14:41

My DS high have said face masks arent compulsory but both teachers and pupils can wear one if they wish, younger ones in primary no teachers or pupils will be required to wear masks however teachers and TAs will wear visors for 1 to 1 or small group learning

fuckweasel Mon 31-Aug-20 20:19:33

I've been doing it for a couple of weeks. It's fine. I'd be more comfortable without one, but it's really no big deal. Students have been absolutely fine about wearing them too. A few dodgy mask hygiene incidents, but we've just gently reminded them about storage etc. We spent time explaining why masks are important; how the evidence is changing in favour of protecting the wearer as well as their peers. They get it.

tinytemper66 Mon 31-Aug-20 20:21:11

I will play it by ear. If I feel the need too I will. Some of my classes will be 33 or 34 in size so may then. Depends if there are any pupils with hearing disabilities etc who may struggle if I do.

windyautumn Mon 31-Aug-20 20:21:49

profpoopsnagle

I wouldn't be in favour, and as 'helpful' they are supposed to be in suppressing the virus, I think they would have a negative effect on teaching and learning. Masks may stop those with the virus from passing it on. Most people do not have the virus.

I wear specs so they steam anyway, but a mask and specs means that most of my face would be covered. So much behaviour management, control and teaching is done via non visual cues for all age groups, but especially for younger children.

You talk all day when teaching. All day. The masks would get damp extremely quickly and would need to be changed so frequently. I think the dampness could cause an higher incidence of throat and other infections, such as cold sores.

I also think this last point is valid for children- wearing a mask for a quick 20 minutes around Tescos is not the same as wearing your mask all day long, when you are expected to talk a lot as part of the experience.

I know lots of people wear masks all day long in their job- surgeons. But it would be like asking a surgeon to wear woolly gloves when operating. Yes they could do it, but the apparatus would impinge on their ability to do the job well.


Yes, voice misuse is a real problem. I'm not sure there are many professions back yet who are professional voice users in masks but it's very different to wearing one and only having some conversational chat.

I'm a speech therapist and wear one at work obviously but it does massively impact on the communication work I do. You have to be really careful with your voice too.

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NailsNeedDoing Mon 31-Aug-20 20:22:55

I’m a TA but I do some teaching in ks1, and for lots of reasons, I would actively object to wearing a mask in the classroom. If I’m provided with a comfortable enough visor I’d wear it, but not a mask.

windyautumn Mon 31-Aug-20 20:23:56

monkeytennis97

Fine. No problem.


How are you finding the teaching aspect? All the talking and projecting your voice I mean?

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IWantAPetUnicorn Mon 31-Aug-20 20:24:10

I really would have preferred smaller classes so that distancing could take place and masks to be used when working closely with pupils for short periods of time.

windyautumn Mon 31-Aug-20 20:25:21

fuckweasel

I've been doing it for a couple of weeks. It's fine. I'd be more comfortable without one, but it's really no big deal. Students have been absolutely fine about wearing them too. A few dodgy mask hygiene incidents, but we've just gently reminded them about storage etc. We spent time explaining why masks are important; how the evidence is changing in favour of protecting the wearer as well as their peers. They get it.


That's good to hear!

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