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Remote teachers are not 'on vacation'

As a high school teacher, it angers me when I read on social media posts like, "Teachers need to get back to work," or "I shouldn't do the work the teachers are supposed to be doing." I can assure naysayers, that we are working harder than ever before and this is not an ideal situation for us, either.

For one, in the ideal world, we would much rather be back in the classroom. However, look at the world today. Schools that are reopening everywhere see spikes in cases and have to close to go to remote learning. It's a matter of safety. We are lucky that we have the technology in 2020 to keep learning moving forward that we can be safe and offer education simultaneously.

We are on the ground floor of building a new educational system. I've been teaching for seven years now, and like my colleagues, I feel like this is my first year teaching all over again. I am recreating all of my units to make them online friendly. I have to think of how to make my lessons as easily accessible to my students as possible. We have to rewire our brains to move away from paper and pencil tests and worksheets to find valuable digital resources that will both stimulate and instruct students. Oh, and we have to gauge where students are at after not seeing them in a classroom since March.

Yet, we have to "get back to work." I've had headaches every single day from trying to reinvent the wheel while staring at a screen all day long. I nearly fell asleep in my chair like I was elderly last night just after dinner from exhaustion.

At our English team meetings yesterday, our goal was to design a pre test to find out where students are as they come in to the school year. We had to align standards that would fit their learning targets, make a test and make custom online bubble sheets on a platform called Partners. Everything we are doing is new to us. Yet, we have to "get back to work."

It's funny how when businesses all over the country tell their employees that they can work from home indefinitely, no one says a word about their productivity. However, when teachers are taken out of their normal environment, we are somehow on vacation. I can assure you that it doesn't work like that.

I do tip my hat to all of the parents and guardians out there who are doubling as tutors to their sons, daughters and foster children. These aren't easy times. Yet, teachers also have kids at home they are also tutoring. We are also parents with kids doing remote or hybrid learning. It's a crazy world and we are all in this together.

In China, teachers are respected on the same level as doctors. It's a shame that in America we don't back our educators as such. If you feel that we aren't working hard enough, I strongly encourage you to go get your teaching certificate and see what it takes to do this job. We could always use more teachers because God knows that we don't do this for the money. We do this for the kids. It's a selfless profession and is one of the lowest paying ones.

Remote learning for our district starts next week after our two weeks of professional development and meetings. There will be bumps and learning curves along the way, but we will be putting our best foot forward day in and day out. A little respect for those who are trying to help the kids they can't physically see would be nice. Thank you for reading.

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