HOW many times do you hear the phrase "They should teach it in schools"?

Too many times. It doesn't matter whether it's manners, money or mental wellbeing, there's always the suggestion that if something is lacking in modern society then we should have the teachers swoop in to fix it.

A couple of years ago I took a look through stories from one year of media coverage and found about two dozen examples of organisations calling for their own specialist area to be taught in schools.

So, for example, the Bank of England found that young people didn't know enough about savings so said there should be mandatory lessons in finance for pupils.

In order to tackle domestic abuse, an MP said children must be taught about the issue in class.

A university study found pupils struggled to identify fake news. Guess what? Teach it in school.

When do they think teachers have the time in the day to fit all of this in on top of the core curriculum?

But that's the thing, schools have long, long since stopped being about the core curriculum.

One of my great privileges of covering education for the Glasgow Times is that it allows me to go out and visit schools.

I never feel more motivated or inspired than when I come away from a visit to a school where teachers and young people are carrying out some creative or charitable or innovative venture.

Let's face it, it's almost always innovative. And it is always designed to have the young people's best interests at heart.

During this coronavirus crisis, the education department and the paper thought it would be an idea to run a twice-weekly resource for parents and children at home while the schools are off.

I was slightly worried we wouldn't have enough content.

My worry now is that we're going to run out of time to share all the amazing ideas that have been provided by the teachers who are taking part in our series.

I've heard over the past week or so people saying how lucky teachers are to be off work with their feet up while the schools are shut.

This is such nonsense and offensive nonsense at that.

In Glasgow I speak to teachers who act as counsellors, social workers, food bank organisers, benefit experts and more, all to make sure their pupils are accessing education while having everything they need at home too.

All that extra curricular work hasn't stopped just because the schools are off.

If you follow the city's director of education on Twitter, Maureen McKenna, you'll have seen her staff volunteering to help pack and post thousands of Farmfoods vouchers to families who need a bit of extra support, as just one example of what the department is doing during the Covid-19 epidemic.

I think we can underestimate and under appreciate the work teaching staff do.

Of course they have to focus on the foundations of education - reading, writing and numbers.

But the many, many additional opportunities for our young people that are provided by teaching staff who go above and beyond in their own time is really moving.

I've visited schools where a teacher was giving music lessons in the lunch break to a child living in care because that child would not have the chance to learn an instrument otherwise.

There are teachers in our city providing school uniforms for youngsters who otherwise go without.

And those uniforms, which stay in school, need to be washed - who organises that?

Primary and secondary schools on the city's South Side have been fundamental in helping new communities that have moved to Glasgow to settle here.

That means teachers learning new languages and travelling to other countries to find out how best to support their new pupils.

There are too many examples of outstanding work going on to mention.

It also explains why, when there were calls to shut the school earlier in the spread of the pandemic, there was hesitation to do so.

Without school support many families would struggle and teachers had to be sure they could keep providing help for those who need it.

And they are.

Even the teachers not providing childcare to key workers are still on social media, say, posting PE classes or creating new ways of sharing their lessons online or tweeting out lesson plans.

We're living in some really hard times and so it's important to try and focus on the bright spots.

For me, knowing how many people in our schools are striving to make this time as painfree and productive for our children and young people as possible is one of those bright spots.