World Teachers' Day


Today I want to reflect on what this pandemic has meant for some of those who educate our children. 

  • First, of course, are all of the wonderful women and man who work at the school for autistic children where I spent the past few years as part of the support team. Remote learning wasn't working well for these kids and the decision was made to resume on-site as soon as the governor allowed it. As I've said before, people on the spectrum are often unpredictable and can be literally "in your face." Even with abundant PPE in place, these teachers are taking risks every single day. Risks that I didn't feel I could take. And I so admire them.
  • Carl (not his real name) teaches in a high school. Teenagers are who they are (to pluralize a phrase) and because of the risk they pose, Carl does not feel he can visit his father -- who is elderly and living with cancer -- indefinitely.
  • Sarah (again, a pseudonym as will be all others) is teaching in a strange hybrid environment. Her students are simultaneously remote and on site. The technology in her school is such that she has to repeat everything each group of students says for the benefit of the other group. Between classes, she cleans and sanitizes. She lives in an area where some people eschew mask wearing because "God will protect them." She is stressed with exhaustion and the constant worry of whether this little cough might be the beginning of the infection.
  • Arthur is a wonderful teacher who is currently doing nothing. The independent school where he works has given families the option of on-site or remote. Teachers, however, are expected to be at the school. A handful have been given accommodation to teach remotely if they demonstrate a medical reason. Arthur is healthy but his wife has a couple of conditions that put her at risk; his petition was denied. After twenty-plus years at the school, Arthur's now on unpaid leave of absence with no guarantee of a job once it is safe for him to return.
  • Sandra's daughter's school is remote, so Sandra gave up a job she loved -- and was excellent at -- to be home with her little girl
  • Which brings us to Alvin, who never wanted to be a teacher, never had an education class in his life, and is not known for being overly patient. He's able -- pretty much -- to do his job from home, but his children, who are learning remotely, need a tremendous amount of supervision and assistance. He's worn out from being a "teacher."

There are countless teachers out there. And every single one of them is Dealing With Something.


Nann said…
I admire teachers any day -- but now? They rock!
Janet O. said…
Wonderful post, Nancy. As a trained teacher myself, I know it is both challenging and rewarding under the best of circumstances. These are not the best circumstances. You have covered the bases well of possible "teachers." So many difficult decisions to be made to provide learning opportunities while still trying to protect health. Some areas are working out better than others, but there isn't the perfect answer anywhere, that I have seen. Kudos to teachers everywhere who are trying to slog through this pandemic and make it work the best they are able.
Quiltdivajulie said…
Add my. hair stylist who has a first grader learning remotely - she is juggling work hours at the salon (alternate days with the other stylist to comply with distancing and other guidelines) while being his on-site teacher. NOT an easy road for so many, many families. Teachers teaching remotely while their children do their own learning at home . . . oy veh.