Now that the 2020 school year is underway, teachers are being asked to do more than they ever have. Teachers chose their profession, and the majority of them are very passionate about what they do; however, they did not choose to teach during a pandemic. It’s as if they have been dealt a bad hand of cards, but I assure you that teachers are doing the best they can given the hand they have been dealt. I know many parents are also having to step up and help their kids more than ever with school this year. I get it; I’m a teacher and I’m a mom.
But I just ask all parents to cut their kid’s teacher some slack this school year because we are stressed and overwhelmed and here’s why:
Some teachers are teaching all virtual, which means they are spending hours upon hours on a computer.
It is definitely not easy to sit at a computer all day for teachers or students. Many classes, especially the younger grades, require hand-on activities, which is nearly impossible to do through a computer. Many teachers are spending a lot of time converting paper activities into digital activities. They are also having to get really creative and think of other ways to present their lessons and keep their students engaged through virtual class meetings. This requires a lot of extra planning and extra time. Some students, teachers, and parents are still learning how to navigate many online resources, which is another challenge for everyone. Virtual learning is definitely a learning process for both teachers, students, and parents, so just cut everyone some slack here!
Some teachers are teaching all face-to-face classes.
While this may seem ideal, there are many challenges that come along with teaching face-to-face during a pandemic, and it is very different from what we are used to. We are having to make a lot of changes to our classrooms and they may not look as fun and inviting as they usually do. We have to set up our classrooms so students are as far apart as possible. This also means that some decorations may have to be removed or some fun areas (think reading nooks in the lower grades) may have to be removed or roped off. In addition, teaching face-to-face also requires making sure kids keep their masks on and are wearing them correctly. Along with keeping kids apart and making sure they are wearing masks, teachers must keep their classrooms extra clean and avoid having items that students usually share. It can be quite a challenge to monitor these extra things that we are not used to while also teaching face-to-face, so please cut us some slack on the way our classrooms may look and how we have to run our classrooms this year.
Some teachers are teaching both face-to-face and virtually, which is also known as the hybrid model.
This is the model that my school is currently using, and it is definitely not easy to manage. We are teaching half of our students in-person each day and the other half virtually, so we see every student twice a week. The other three days, they are learning from home. This means that we have smaller groups in-person, which is really nice, but we have to virtually provide what we are doing each day to the students who are learning at home. In addition, we have to factor in students who do not have internet at home and we must provide the material on a jump drive for them to complete. We also have a lot of students who are just not able to learn from home, so they are falling behind and we are spending a lot of time contacting parents. I receive emails constantly from students and parents who have questions and want immediate answers. All of this is about triple the work than we are used to, but we do not have triple the time to get it done. This means that I am spending a lot of time outside of school hours working on lessons for my students and contacting parents. I am a mom too so I have family obligations outside of school hours. I am often sleep deprived because I have to stay up late, after my own kids are in bed, to get work done. I cannot plan, teach, answer emails, and make phone calls at the same time. It’s a lot to keep up with and there is just not enough time in the day to do it all, so please be patient with us and cut us some slack.
Please do not get me wrong; teachers are glad to be working with students in any capacity right now. We want our students to succeed and we are doing all that we can no matter how we are teaching our students. Just keep in mind that we are being asked to do a lot this year and it is very overwhelming and stressful, but we are trying, and we are doing the best that we can.