Understanding that, thinking of having a classroom of students ― even a small number, like my special ed classroom ― is a heavy responsibility. What happens if I do not get to the pencil someone just dropped before another student picks it up? How do I enforce social distancing in a class full of small children who need and crave sensory input? Most of my students all receive additional therapies ― speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy. Those therapists see students from any number of different schools, even different school districts. How do any of us keep our bubbles small in those circumstances? Teaching special ed has been my life’s work. I have had students pass away before. It is heart-wrenching, but I have never felt responsible in any way. Right now, I feel responsible for these students ― children I truly love ― for their very lives. That is an awful lot to ask of any teacher.
My husband and I are both teachers. Here is how we are preparing for back to school:
1. We have created an extra bedroom so that if one of us has to quarantine, we can separate.
2. We have updated our wills and created living wills.
3. We have moved money out of retirement to pay off all of our debt so that if we die or are incapacitated and unable to work, our grown children will not be saddled with any of our debt.” ― Karen Malone
“What I want parents to understand is: We are going to need Clorox wipes, Lysol, tissues, etc. donated. You can’t expect us teachers to buy all of those things with our paychecks. Please don’t get mad when we ask for these items.” ― Emily Hillery Hall
“I want parents to realize that schools are going to look and feel vastly different. We all want our children’s lives to go back to normal, but nothing is normal right now. They won’t be able to interact, collaborate or play with other kids. People keep bringing up mental health — think about how returning to school can adversely impact their mental health. We all want life back, but it can’t just magically happen because we want it to.” ― Kelly Blackburn
“I want parents to know that many of us are also parents and are struggling with the exact same choices/fears/hopes for our own children. I want parents to know that we will do the best we can to reimagine the way we run our classrooms so that your child still gets the amazing learning experience they deserve.” ― April Adams
“I am a high school social studies in Toledo, Ohio. I have spent my summer with my own 5-year-old child doing everything I can to keep her safe. I feel like I am being asked to sacrifice myself. Teachers have never had a voice in the conversation. And in the absence of leadership, each district is forced to attempt to appease parents at the risk of their staff. Our district is laying off teachers and support staff. And every day I am supposed to be creating lessons plans on shifting sands. Meanwhile, people ask me my thoughts and I just deadpan, ‘I don’t want to die.’ Distance learning is not ideal, but we aren’t living in ideal times. The best plan for reopening school is the safest one, but as a society, our selfish desire for normalcy is overpowering our compassion and concern for others.” ― Sara Peterson Rhine