Resilience. Team work. Community. Devotion. Opportunity. Hope. All of this is reflected in the students, their families, teachers, administrators and other staff featured in this article. As a school board member who also believes in these aspects of the educational process, this article reminds me of what to focus on in the uproar emanating from the political culture wars that have spilled over into local school board meetings. If we put the education and safety of children first, I think incredible things will happen. You cannot read this article and feel the opposite. – Paula Bussard, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
I am happy that these schools are successful. Meanwhile, at my school, our test participation rate is so horribly low that a school principal used profanity to describe it. Our state has made it a membership system, and every step of the pool testing process is an absolute pain.
We are a small team and already my boss is at home, very ill with a breakdown. I still have to remind 18-year-olds to wear their masks every 30 seconds in crowded classrooms. My largest class is 22, but a few colleagues have 39 in a room for 30. We have raised the issue several times, but our school principal shrugs her shoulders and says her hands are tied.
Fortunately, the vast majority of our students are vaccinated. It could be worse. Corn some staff refuse to wear masks properly. We were told to watch our colleagues, and I did so with unpleasant results. Once again, the school administration shrugs its shoulders.
It was a difficult start to the year, to put it mildly. I work hard every day not to be angry. – Claudia Lawry, Boston
My 71-year-old husband is tutoring students at Montana State University and with the optional use of masks here in this state, I was a little concerned about exposure to him this fall. He’s fully vaccinated, but I was worried about breakthrough infections. He masks himself and he says that all the students so far that he supervises wear their masks with him. – Susan E Weinberg, Billings, Mont.
While reading this article, I couldn’t help but compare it to my teaching experiences outside of the United States. When Covid emerged in early 2020, the school year (which normally starts in March here) was postponed by several months. Because the two schools I taught at are smaller (less than 200 students), I finally got to see my students for the first time in August of last year. And thanks to regular follow-up, mask warrants for everyone, and now the arrival of vaccines for educators and teachers, none of my schools have faced a shutdown since.
I taught after school classes, hosted a treat activity in the school’s English room last year and this year taught my elementary-age children how to do it. slime during summer camp. We had a lot of fun, in person, masks and all. I see school districts and parents at home constantly fighting over just having to wear masks and I wonder: why must it be so difficult? This little piece of paper on our faces has given me and my children a little more freedom, if you ask me. – Kierra Boggs, Daegu, South Korea
I will no longer work as a substitute teacher until schools demand vaccines and masks. The schools are in desperate need of subs, and I need the money, but it’s not worth getting sick. – Alexis Mills, Hereford, Arizona.
In Michigan, the kids have been in school for two weeks. Cases of Covid-19 in children aged 10 to 19 have jumped 40% in the past seven days. It doesn’t take an epidemiologist to see that the only variable that has changed is that children are in school together. It will be a real-time study of the level of risk worth taking. – S., Detroit
Back to school in my second decade of teaching. My energy is high, I missed the students so much. This is why teachers teach, see children, and participate in learning moments that seem like little miracles.
But we don’t have room. We have more children in the classroom than ever before, not less. Children who have trouble keeping their masks on take all my time. We don’t have windows that open. We don’t have enough devices, so we don’t have students handling too much paper (and to help preserve the environment). We don’t have mental health supports for students or for ourselves. I listen to the trauma, after having experienced mine. I am so tired, so tired. I don’t know how long I can last. I would like people to help us too. – Jessica, Queen