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Going back to school: a teacher's perspective

As a high school teacher, I saw firsthand that the remote learning experiment (while necessary) did not work at the end of last semester. Students did not show up for class, it put more pressure on parents and teachers to both work and watch their children simultaneously, teachers could not physically be there to help students, and students could not interact with their peers like they would in the real world. These are just some examples as to why remote learning cannot replace real-time learning.

And yet, in desperate times these desperate measures got us through and kept us safe and healthy. Teachers and parents rose to the challenge to best educate their children under the toughest of circumstances. We learned how to communicate remotely, prepare them for AP tests, graduation, and keep their spirits up. We rose to the challenge because that's what we do. We teach. We are not the people at the top that make the decisions, but we are told what to do and we do it for the kids we work for.

That being said, it would be nice if teachers and students alike were more included in this decision-making process. While I agree that we need to get students back to class this fall, it is not a good idea to send them back full force. We saw what happened when certain states opened up too quickly and we are seeing the consequences of that throughout our nation.

We know what it's like to run a classroom. We know the difficulty ahead of getting students to wear a mask, staying socially distant, adapting to any scheduling changes, and realizing the seriousness of the situation. Our students' minds are still learning and growing, and we are their compass. If we are not given good guidance and support from those above us, it makes it all the more difficult to guide our students in the right direction.

We realize that many US schools are already drastically underfunded. How can the federal government possibly even think of cutting more money from them? I know we need to get students back in school, but we need to do it smart and we need to do it right. I'm not one hundred percent sure what would be the right way to do it. Who knows how COVID-19 will look in another month? But I think if teachers and students were more included in the decision-making process with politicians and our scientific community, it could only help. It's a shame that those most distant from the classroom believe they know what's best for teachers and their students.

But whatever this crazy school year looks like, teachers everywhere will rise to the challenge. We always do. We do it for our kids. That's why we teach.

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