Long hours, endless lesson plans and the constant feeling of 'teacher guilt'- that's the reality of being a teacher in lockdown according to one member of staff at a Lancashire school.

Education as we knew it has been put on hold, but teachers still face the usual pressures that come with the career, such as Ofsted visits, child assessments and even parents evenings.

Richard Maiden is a teacher at Coates Lane Primary School in Barnoldswick.

Lancashire Telegraph: Richard Maiden Richard Maiden

He has opened up about the so called ‘easy’ life of a teacher in lockdown to reveal exactly how much work goes into an average day- and how much of a toll it can really take.

He said: “Lockdown life is hard for everyone… we all have our struggles.

“As a teacher though, life has never been THIS hard.”

Richard explained that “teacher guilt” is very much a huge part of his life during the pandemic.

He explained: “Even though I can do no more and am working harder than ever before in my 20 years of teaching, I still question whether I am really doing enough…

“The media and the government would tell you we are not.

Lancashire Telegraph: Coates Lane Primary School Coates Lane Primary School

"What they forget is this… we care. We care about the 30 children in our classes and their families.

“We care about our own children too. Getting the balance right is so hard and we constantly feel we are letting somebody down.”

While most children may be at home, many teaching staff are stretched to their limits and experiencing the furthest thing from a ‘relaxing’ quiet day at work

Richard added: “[Some] would have you know that schools are closed and teachers have it easy – that during the first lockdown, we spent our time in the garden and that in this current lockdown, we have our feet up drinking coffee during all day… if only.

“Schools are most definitely not closed! All my amazing colleagues at Coates Lane Primary School and I are in school 5 days a week for those children who need to be in school as their parents and carers are key workers.”

As well as providing the regular high standard and engaging lessons for the children in school, they also have to cater for the kids at home.

Richard provides three live Zoom lessons a day to his year six class who are working from home.

This includes one full hour of English and Maths, as well as a 20 minute call at the end of the day when he reads to the children and allows them to debrief.

However, his daily tasks don’t end there.

Richard added: “When I am not teaching ‘live lessons’, I provide extra spelling, reading, PSHE, and a variety of other activities to ensure that the full curriculum is covered.”

Despite the ever-looming assessments and expectation of teachers to ensure the children are progressing academically, Richard recognises the need for families to take time to relax and “just do the best they can”.

He added:  “Life is hard for them and, at Coates Lane, we appreciate all that they do and know they are doing their very best.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Children at the school on a Zoom call with their fellow classmates Children at the school on a Zoom call with their fellow classmates

When the school bell rings at 3:15 the kids get to clock off- but Richard’s work day doesn’t end there.

He snatches a couple of precious hours with his family as they cook and eat dinner together- then it’s back to preparing resources for the next day.

He said: “My wife (who is also a teacher) and I spend most of the evening ensuring all our resources for the next day are ready for the children in class and for those on the Zoom call.

“Then off to bed we go in readiness to repeat the process.”

However, Richard maintains that he is “one of the lucky ones”.

He explains: “I work in an amazing school with a head teacher who genuinely cares and sees our mental health as a priority.

“The admiration I have for my colleagues is endless and I cannot thank them enough.”

Richard maintains that he hasn’t opened up for sympathy, recognition or even thanks.

He understands that this is a vocational career and there is an unwritten agreement that teachers should do everything in their power to educate children to the best of their ability- pandemic or otherwise.

He added: “We want people to realise that we are human beings, who, like everyone else, are finding life very hard at the moment.

“Also, like everyone else, we are doing our best.

“We do it because we came into the profession to make a difference, to inspire and to care for all the children under our care.”