I have a few teacher friends (and also my sister) who have been telling me about how uncomfortable they are about going back to school soon…
To me, this whole in-person thing for students just seems totally crazy! I think they should just do all online teaching until January, just to be safe.
And I’m not even one of the people who have to actually go into the classroom!
That’s why it’s important for the teachers to let their voices be heard on this subject.
Here’s what people had to say on AskReddit.
“In the UK (English) Secondary Schools are are due back in full in September with no expectations of social distancing and very little guidance for risk assessment.
I work in the worst affected borough of London where huge numbers of our kids have lost family members. Over 50% of kids live in poverty, we have the highest levels of gang crime, radicalisation, s*x trafficking, child abuse, and neglect, and only around 5 – 10% of kids in classes have had access to internet for remote learning since we went into lockdown in March.
Many I haven’t heard from at all. Social services and child protective services are already overwhelmed.
I am worried for myself and my colleagues as we enter precarious working conditions. But mostly I worry for the kids and their community. We cannot go back to normal and many will be deeply traumatised.
When I try to talk about how anxious I feel, nobody in my family or friendship group understands, they just tell me to stop worrying and enjoy my summer break.”
I’m almost 40 but in very good health. Many of the people I work with are older and are not the healthiest.
Based on the numbers and the size of our school, going back to school means we will be burying 4-5 children and 1-2 teachers.”
3. Not comfortable.
“Last year was my first year as a classroom teacher. Specifically, I was in charge of the high-needs special ed classroom in my elementary school.
Half of my students have some form of an immuno-compromised system, one of which has been completely isolated after a family member passed away due to COVID.
None of my students have the ability to wear or keep on masks to protect everyone else and my own ability to keep on a mask would be extremely difficult around them, not mentioning the amount of hand over hand instruction we have to give.
I do not feel comfortable with having more then maybe 2 students in the classroom physically at one time. This is ignoring all the ed tech for the room.
I don’t feel confident.”
“A mixed bag.
I’ve been worried about my students (access to food, safety, clean clothing, etc) and if they’re in person I can make sure some of their more basic needs are being met. (Lower income school that has resources to assist) I also know that without in person classes, not all learning needs are met, especially those within the special education realm.
I’m also aware that coming back in person puts the health of many students, families, and educational professionals in harms way.
It really feels like a lose lose situation.”
5. Bad news.
Our principal just left, so I’m even more concerned about the transition. Admin has also been bending over backwards for patents recently, and I don’t think they’ll back up teachers if students refuse to wear masks or follow proper protocol.
I also informed my family today that I likely won’t be joining family events once the school year starts if we go back in person.”
6. Wow. Read this.
“After Sandy Hook I had to accept the reality that America is somehow OK with children and teachers dying.
They would also rather train teachers how to huddle their bodies over children in the corner rather than actually solve the systemic problems that cause school shooting deaths.
I am not surprised that our government is trying to send us back at all costs. What I am surprised by are the parents who seem to be in denial that their kid could be the one that dies or brings it home to them. Also, I’m high risk and I’d really like to not die.
I’m sure my husband, son, and unborn child feel the same way.”
“I teach kindergarten and I’m terrified. I agree kids need to be in school. They need the interaction and some need to get away from their families but I just can’t see us doing it in a safe way. I work in a city that was the poorest city in the US multiple times. School is all some of these kids have. I’m so worried about them.
However I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old with an immune disorder. Last fall and winter I had to change clothes before leaving school and shower before picking him up to keep him safe. What happens with Covid? I don’t think I can keep him safe.
What if one of my school kids die or even my son? I’m absolutely terrified.”
8. Mixed emotions.
“I have very mixed feelings. I really miss my students and can’t wait to see them.
I know that online learning isn’t the same. But I also fear for their health and the health of their families.”
“I resigned specifically because my private school did not support mask wearing and my principle straight told me they don’t work. But he supported me wearing a mask. No way I’m going to get sick or worse for a job.
Plus, my own kids need me and we decided to homeschool them in order to have less bodies in schools to support their own teachers.
Mark my words, if schools open in August, come September America is going to be in a lot of hurt.”
10. Very frustrated.
“I’m scared, and despite being in a high-risk group, I’ll go to work and do my job because I came to the conclusion that it won’t be for long.
We’ll go back and I’ll be super careful about everything for a week and then things will get shut down all over again and we’ll lose all the progress we’ve made.
THAT is my frustration, even more so than worrying about going back to school, that the whole country will ultimately be losing ground on this, not gaining it.”
11. Nope. I quit.
“I quit because f*ck no.
That’s so dangerous. A good portion of people get organ damage even if they survive, and schools are petri dishes at the best of times.
I don’t think it matters that kids are missing out on education as long as they aren’t missing out on parents because they bring COVID home and someone dies.”
12. Breaking it down.
“I’m an elementary teacher and this feels like one of those situations where there’s just not a great answer.
If we teach from home, I worry about:
How effective that teaching will be
How parents will manage that arrangement alongside their jobs
But if we do go back to school, all roads seem to lead to some form of madness.
What happens if I contract COVID? Do I need to have two weeks of lessons prepared for a substitute at all times? Can there possibly be enough substitute teaching candidates out there to fill all the gaps left by COVID diagnoses or suspected COVID diagnoses (or contact with COVID)? Substitutes already do not make a living wage for their work (or if they do, it’s barely so); I can’t imagine they’re going to be more enthusiastic about going to schools under these circumstances.
What happens if my significant other, also a teacher (at a different school), comes into direct contact with a student at her school who has COVID? Do I have to quarantine because I’ve had direct contact with someone who has had direct contact with someone who has COVID?
Our state released standards that basically said that if a student or employee shows a sign of COVID, they’ve gotta go until they can prove they’re clear. Signs include coughing. We obviously wouldn’t send someone home for a random throat-clearing cough, but what about when other sicknesses start popping up as winter nears? Will colds be presumed COVID until proven otherwise?
Our state mentioned that teachers should socially distance from students. How do I effectively teach fifth graders from six feet away at all times?
I worry about my ability to communicate effectively for an entire day through a mask, considering the difficulties some of my students already had with listening. Add a socially distanced element that’s likely going to have some of my students extended all the way to the back of the classroom and I’m a bit concerned on that front.
Selfishly, I’ve wondered where my breaks and planning time would fit. There’s been talks about eliminating specials (things like gym, art, library, etc.) and keeping students in the same room all day (including lunch time and perhaps recess). How do I get away for my own lunch or off-duty break/plan time?
If we split schedules (some kids come on some days, some on others), how in the world will transportation work for those guys? A local district concluded that buses would have to make eight runs to pick up kids in a socially distanced manner.
Bathroom breaks/tissue/drinks. Kids are kind of gross already. To maintain top flight cleanliness and social distancing, I feel an inordinate amount of class time will be devoted to routines. I envision super long bathroom breaks so everyone has a chance to have the bathroom to themselves.
Time out of every hour to clean or wipe down laptops, manipulatives, desks, etc. We already spend a lot of time on routines (pre-COVID) so doubling down makes me wonder exactly how much time will be left to actually try to teach.
What happens under a worst case scenario situation? Our student body has a lot of grandparents standing in as primary guardians. What happens if a student contracts COVID at school and takes it home to their advanced age primary caretaker?
Is our small community prepared to take responsibility for the preventable death of a student’s primary guardian?
If we go hybrid (some home, some online), who’s in charge of managing each system? Curating online content was a job in and of itself, so how could a teacher be expected to go through full school days and then prepare online options for every subject?
And how do we ensure those two components perfectly align?”
If you’re a teacher, please talk to us in the comments.
Tell us how you feel about in-person classes and this whole situation in general.
Thanks in advance!