Melissa is an elementary school teacher in Rockville, Maryland. She has been teaching for over ten years.
“It’s a matter of equity too. Some children have a lot of support and they’re going to get through this without a lot of issues and then children who are struggling- struggling learners- you know that’s going to be really hard on them.“
What are your thoughts on elementary education as it relates to elementary education?
Well, it certainly has its impact. Early with the coronavirus, there was discussion if the school would be closed, a lot of teachers thought, “Oh, well, maybe we’ll be out for a couple weeks”…And then come March and this was much more serious than we thought. And then, suddenly, we had to scramble and had to figure out how we’re going to teach the children, what they need to learn, and also keep them involved….
And a big part of this is the social part of it. Kids really need to continue to see each other and everything is a topsy turvy…It’s really important for me to be able to see them on a regular basis…so that’s kind of the approach I took. There are a lot of concerns and it’s not just the academics. The academics are a big concern because we really don’t know what’s going to be waiting for us when we arrive in the fall, assuming we open up our schools.
Will they always be like the COVID-19 generation?—Melissa
It’s a matter of equity too. Some children have a lot of support and they’re going to get through this without a lot of issues. And then, children who are struggling—struggling learners—you know that’s going to be really hard on them. Not to mention the stress for the parents. I never, ever intended for my parents to become the children’s primary educators… but I have my masters, I went to school to teach… and I don’t want my parents to feel like they have to sit down and teach their children fractions… so there’s been a lot of concern in that respect too.
. . . And what’s going to happen, like I said, when we come back? It’s going to be something we’re probably going to study for years to come. How does this work? Did we do it the best way we could? And what does it mean for these children? Will they always be like the COVID-19 generation?
As an educator, what do you think the biggest challenges will be? Do you think this type of learning is sustainable for long term?
I don’t know, I personally don’t and that’s because there are things that just aren’t sustainable for a couple different reasons. Because one big issue in that is of course equity, which I really do get concerned about children who don’t have access to technology, don’t have the same kind of support…at least in the classroom I have control over that, but at home it’s harder. So I worry about those children. I worry about the social part of it too. You know these children are craving company of each other.