Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to multiple teachers share their experiences being catapulted into the world of distance learning. I wanted to share what we learned from the conversations and let you know that we hear you. You are not alone in this.
Here are three things that came up in almost every teacher phone call I had in recent weeks.
While technology has come very far, nothing can replace the personal connection of being in your classroom with your students. We know you’re missing seeing their faces come through the door each day.
Not only that, but communicating remotely, especially with younger elementary age students, can be very difficult. As one teacher said, “I really worry about how to keep in touch with them. Although we’re assigning them work, I don’t want them to be totally out there on their own.”
Widening the gap
Horace Mann called education “the great equalizer.” But what happens when we can’t ensure that all students have equal access to what they need to succeed?
Almost all teachers I spoke to mentioned concern about a COVID-19 slide. The typical summer slide that happens after 2-3 months without school now has the potential to stretch into a slide of 6 months or more. Studies have shown that summer slide is exacerbated for under-resourced children.
“We’re going to have a whole large population of students that are way behind,” a reading specialist in Virginia said. “I think the majority of students in affluent schools and areas will be okay. But the majority of students in my school are already way behind. They are not going to be okay.”
Regardless of what may or may not be required from their school or district, teachers are doing anything and everything they can to maximize remote learning for the remainder of the school year.
Questions about the future
Finally, most of my phone calls were filled with uncertainty. There are so many questions floating around in all of our heads. Will this become more of a “new normal?” One teacher mentioned that he thinks this will even change the way we approach things like snow days.
Most of all, there are questions about school in the fall. What will classrooms look like, if and when, we return to school? What academic state will the students be in when they come back? How will I decrease the achievement gaps in my classroom?
A math specialist in Massachusetts summed how many of us feel when she said, “we’re all just wondering: how can we set teachers up for success when they DO go back?”
Here at Freckle...
We’re anxious and nervous about the future too, I can’t imagine anyone that isn’t, but we’re also impressed and grateful.
We’re impressed (but not surprised!) by the intense dedication and passion of all teachers during this time. You’ll stop at nothing to help your students.
We’re grateful to work with inspiring individuals like you, and we’re proud that Freckle supports distance learning, especially during these crazy times.
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