“We want to hear from you about the challenges you face and any possible solutions,” CEA President Jeff Leake told members who joined a Zoom listening forum yesterday. Additional CEA forums are being held Tuesday and Wednesday so CEA members can give voice to the issues they are facing in their districts.
At the first forum members shared challenges from being denied remote learning assignments despite having chronic medical conditions to the difficulties of effectively teaching online and in-person learners simultaneously to insufficient contact tracing and communication about positive COVID cases.
One teacher shared that she is currently on leave because her doctor advised her not to return to work; her district has denied her a remote teaching assignment, so she is burning through earned sick time and could soon lose her job and health care. This district had to go fully remote earlier this month, but during that period this teacher was not allowed to resume her position and teach remotely as she is eager to do.
A high school teacher who is teaching under a hybrid model said that he feels like a first-year teacher this year even though he’s been teaching for 30 years. Given that he must juggle the needs of in-person and distance learners, he says that, academically, “We are way behind where we’d like to be, but I’d rather err on the side of students grasping the concept. It’s very tough because we have a lot less time than we used to have.”
A kindergarten teacher who is teaching fully in person stressed that all teachers need more planning time right now. “I need time to make individual bags of manipulatives,” she explained.
CEA Director of Affiliate Services and Member Training Marilyn Mathes said that negotiating what reopening looks like in districts around the state has been a huge struggle for local leaders and CEA staff.
“Local leaders are doing the best they can, but they are so overwhelmed right now,” said Mathes. “Please encourage your colleagues to sign up so that we can hear from members about the issues they are facing.”
“We’re hoping that learner-focused and educator-centered solutions will come out of these conversations we’re having,” said Leake. “We’re working together to get this right for children and teachers.”