If you have kids or you work in a school, I’m sure that this must be a very anxious time for you and your family.
We’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is normal anymore.
We can all hope and pray that a vaccine is developed and that people wear masks and behave the right way, but the whole question around schools and how to teach kids is a very complicated one.
Especially when it comes to in-person classes.
AskReddit users weighed in on this serious and important situation.
1. From a college professor.
“College professor here.
I really miss the wonderful classroom dynamics that in-person learning makes possible. Online learning makes discussions more strained and shallow. I also really love working with my students and discussing their projects one-on-one.
That is much harder to do remotely. However, I care about my students as people, and the thought of making them and their families sick by returning to campus too soon makes me very worried. I want them to get a good education, but not at the expense of their health and wellbeing.
I would rather work twice as hard to make online learning successful than risk them getting sick or losing parents and grandparents to this illness.”
“The issue is that all these parents want us to go back to “normal” school but fail to realize school will NOT be normal.
No good morning hugs and high fives. No fun projects with partners. No team-building activities like marshmallow tower or saving Fred.
No independent centers with shared materials. No shared technology permitted. No library books. No playground equipment. No classroom helper jobs (paper passer, librarian, board-eraser, etc). No restorative circles with an actual talking piece.
No special handshake to start class. No reading with a teddy bear or on a floor pillow. No switching seat privileges. No cafeteria antics. No visible smiling (masks). No teacher’s chair privileges.
No kinder buddies (my class always helps in preK and kinder with a ton of stuff). No group counseling in the very small counselors office.
The list goes on. My year can’t be done in person because what makes teaching in person so incredible, won’t be allowed or possible.”
3. The truth.
“It’s absolutely true that students are not learning well in remote learning.
But it’s even more completely true that if we start having classes in person, if one person has coronavirus, we’re going to spread it.
My district has voted for a blended learning model that has half the kids in the building at a time, but our hallways and bathrooms aren’t big enough for true social distancing, and even if they were… even adults are not doing well with perfect mask compliance, and children are definitely not going to manage it.
I’m just hoping that my district changes their mind as we get closer to the start date. If not, hope B is that when enough people get sick, they’ll have to close, and maybe I can avoid being in that first wave of illness if I’m extremely scrupulous in my own mask usage and hand-washing and also get lucky.
This is absolutely unsafe. Teachers are going to be dying by mid-September.
If one of them is me, my dying wish is this: if you hear anyone, in any place or context, refer to teachers as “heroes” in association with COVID-19, I want you to BOOOOOO really loudly for a long time. Including at funerals. ESPECIALLY at funerals.”
I work at a high school in Texas. Last year my largest class had 36 students. Between kids not having school supplies, passing in the hallways, gym, sports, discipline, & teenage hormones I know for a FACT that social distancing & keeping things clean can’t work.
If full grown adults refuse to wear a mask then imagine 1000s of teenagers. Our school has a daycare too, with babies. It’s too risky & it’s unfair to ask us to risk not only our lives but the lives of our students.
This is not a hoax. There is no getting back to normal. We either have to accept it or risk certain death. I am not exaggerating with any of this.
The mayor announced that we’ll be starting the year online so now I can breathe a little easier.”
5. Two words.
“Two words. F*ck. This.
I love and miss my kids.
But I don’t want them/their families/me/my family to get sick.”
“I feel hopeless.
Last year was terrible. I miss my students. I called every parent every other week to check in, and I heard from 6 out of 31 parents. There was no closure with the students and I know my students have regressed academically and behaviorally.
I am an Education Specialist (sped teacher, RSP), and I know my students need me to learn. I know they have diverse learning needs. And I know distance learning is not conducive to their success- at least not right now.
But I can’t say that I feel comfortable going back to school in person. I am worried about my student’s health, their parent’s and families’ health, and well-being. My aide’s and colleagues’ health, and of course my own health. This is not to leave out that I and members of my family are at high risk for severe complications.
I am frustrated with the lack of communication and regard from districts and feel as though we’re supposed to just deal with it. When we as a state have said it is too risky to have in-house dining and other indoor activities. Yet, we are supposed to go into the classroom with students who may not be wearing a mask. All while knowing the local populous are NOT getting tested.
I fear and feel hopeless about what I can do to protect myself, and my students. And think that we’ll likely just find ourselves where we were last year. Shutting down overnight with no training on how to successfully implement distance learning.
But this time, a large majority of people will be infected. And if those people show symptoms (or possibly even don’t, who knows) their body may never fully recover from the damage done by the infection.
It’s a hard weird time to be a student, teacher, and parent. But, we can’t risk the health of everyone involved just to go back to normal.”
7. The South.
“I’m a HS teacher In the South. Very Pro-Trump, Covid Hoax, Anti-Mask area. Our governor basically just told the schools that they will open full time because the CDC is just “guidelines”.
I know many teachers that are dreading going back, because of the risk. SC has notoriously mistreated the education system. We’ve always been underfunded, but now it’s really bad.
If you’re religious, pray for us. If you’re not, do whatever it is you do.”
8. Being honest.
“I am a school librarian at an elementary school with 900 students. I am young. I have no children. I am healthy.
I am f*cking terrified.
I may love being a ‘hero’ to your kids, but I did not sign up to be an actual “knowingly lay down your life” hero.
The fact that so many are urging us to go back to “protect the economy” shows just how f*cked this whole system is.
Staying home is absolutely causing trauma for everyone, staff and students. But will it cause more trauma when their teacher, principal, para, custodian, dies? Not to mention their grandma or aunt or parents or classmate.
“Only .2% of kids will die” Devos tauts. In my district, that means 4. 4 student deaths in a district of five schools. Not to mention the teachers or family members.”
“I’m a 32 year old “healthy looking” male who gets immunosuppressing infusions to treat ulcerative colitis…I teach middle school and the thought of being in a poorly ventilated classroom with 25 6th graders is terrifying…
I have no desire to die and leave my two small children fatherless…I don’t see any way that in-person classes will work with how poorly our country has handled this pandemic…”
“I’m an elementary music teacher. My job is to have kids sing, play games in the room with others, play instruments, and learn how to be good human beings. I see every single kid in the school.
I am so fearful.
My entire class is pretty much upended by in person classes. They can’t sing because obviously, they can’t play instruments (percussion/string) because they’d have to share the instruments with each other.
We can’t play games because the games are meant to encourage playing an instrument or singing a song, and also include group/partner work.
And if they expect me to do that anyways, then I’m not comfortable with that in the slightest.”
11. Not worth it.
“I teach in a middle school of about 1000 kids. There is literally no safe way to do it. We are supposed to start in a few weeks and we have no idea how things will work. I love my kids and I know they have tough home lives.
There is nothing I would love more than to have them back in my classroom. BUT if we go back to in-school learning in any form, PEOPLE WILL DIE.
Parents will send sick kids to school, sometimes because they’re asymptomatic and they have no idea they’re sick, or they know their kids are positive but they have to go to work so they’ll send them anyway. I don’t want my students to die. I don’t want to watch my coworkers die.
I don’t want to hear about the families of my students and coworkers dying. I don’t want to die. Maybe I wouldn’t die, but if I got sick and passed it along to others who died, I could never forgive myself.
I could talk all day about how stressed we teachers are and all the reasons why going back to in-person school wouldn’t work. It boils down to this: People will die.
Those that don’t die could have permanent heart, lung, or cognitive function damage.
It’s not worth it to go back until people get their sh*t together and wear their f*cking masks so cases will go down!”
12. Doesn’t look good.
“Not feeling very good about it.
Working in a Jr High, our students have a history of not being very sanitary. Combine this with our staff mostly being over the age of 50, and I only see bad things happening.”
13. My two cents.
“I’m a speech pathologist, so while not a teacher, I do consider myself an educator.
I provided services via telehealth from March through June (and continue to do so for those students who require summer services.) Two of my kids have highly intensive needs, so I see them at their home once a week now (which is terrifying, but it’s what they need to make progress.)
The way I see it is, in March (I am in NY, so I am going on that timeline), we had to learn a COMPLETELY different way of doing things. It was hard for the educators and the students – especially the students.
So to me, going back to in-person learning is not the best choice as it will look very different from in-person learning in the past. It’s a lot of change for anyone, let alone young children.
And if the numbers go up? We close all over again? I truly do not believe it is worth it. I understand the fact that many people rely on schools as child care, but I also think that it is up to the government to handle that (high hopes, I know). I
have many ideas on this whole thing that I could go on and on about. But that’s just my two cents.”
Now we want to hear from more teachers out there!
In the comments, please tell us how you feel about in-person classes.
We look forward to hearing from you.