Schools across the United States have closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and teachers are coping with a new normal when it comes to forging educational and social bonds with the country’s more than 56 million students, according to a report on NPR.
Devising new methods of imparting knowledge have revealed in stark detail the economic disparities at play amongst student populations. “I would easily say that less than 50% of our students and families have access to either a consistent learning device and/or Internet access,” says Nikolai Vitti, the head of Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Students learning English as a second language are also at risk of falling behind, according to Priscila Baldillez from Roy Miller High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. “[At school] they go through their entire day at least listening, picking it up and at least having the opportunity to hear English being spoken to them. That’s not happening right now,” she says.
And teachers themselves are struggling to manage the exhausting adjustment to online learning. “While [students are] working on today’s assignments, I am making instructional videos…Definitely working really hard. And in some ways harder than I ever have before. I just didn’t think that was possible,” says Jaime Gordon, a teacher at St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School in Richmond, VA. Adds Thuy Nguyen, from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. “I can’t respond to 33 kids in writing fast enough. I was getting emails — question after question from one particular student — you know, like 10 emails in five minutes. And I was like, ‘This is not going to work.’”
Read more about the remote education challenges facing teachers around the country here.