Lesson of the Day: ‘Teaching in the Pandemic: “This Is Not Sustainable’’’

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Lesson of the Day: ‘Teaching in the Pandemic: “This Is Not Sustainable’’’

5. What challenges do teachers in schools providing remote-only learning face? Why does Dwayne Reed, a fourth- and fifth-grade social studies teacher, believe the burdens are particularly heavy for educators of color like himself who teach young Black students?

6. How are some administrators, districts and state governments providing additional supports for teachers during this crisis? Which do you find most helpful? What other ideas would you recommend?

7. What did you learn about the lives of teachers? What did you find most interesting, surprising or memorable? How did the experiences and challenges of teachers described in the article compare with what you wrote in the warm-up activity? Did the article change your understanding and perspective on teachers? Which teacher profiled in the article, such as Ms. Clayton and Mr. Reed, resonate with your own experiences and observations of teachers in your school?

Option 1: Share Your Thoughts.

Choose one or more of the following writing prompts:

  • How would you describe your relationship with your teachers — this year and in the past? In general, do you view them positively? How important do you think teachers are?

  • What teacher, or teachers, do you appreciate, and why? Is there a teacher who has made a difference in your life during the pandemic? Was it something specific that that teacher said or did? Or was it just something about the way that person taught or interacted with students that affected you? Explain or tell a story. (And although National Teacher Appreciation Day is not until May, consider sharing your writing with your teachers now — believe us, they will appreciate it!)

  • Mr. Reed asked teachers on Twitter: “What’s ONE thing you would do to make remote/distance learning more sustainable, less burdensome, or simply just better?” How would you answer his question? What do you think we can do to better support teachers during the pandemic? What can students do to improve the quality of life of teachers?

  • Have you considered becoming a teacher? Why or why not? Does reading the article affect your thoughts on the profession as a career?

Option 2: Interview a Teacher.

Imagine you have been hired to write the next article on the lives of teachers during the pandemic. Which teachers would you profile and why? What questions would you ask? How can you help peers and the public understand and appreciate the lives, hardships and resiliency of teachers?

You can choose to spotlight teachers in your school — past or present — or members in your own family who are in the teaching profession. Feel free to interpret who is a teacher broadly to include librarians, paraprofessionals, aides, nurses, guidance counselors and school support staff members.

Brainstorm a list of questions you could ask to learn about their experiences. You might ask: Why did you become a teacher? What do you most enjoy about the profession? How is teaching different this year from in the past? What specific challenges, stresses and burdens are you facing? What kinds of support would you like? What is one thing you wish that students and the public would understand about teaching during the pandemic?

During your interview, be sure to record your conversation or take good notes. Additionally, remember to build trust with your interviewee, even if you already know him or her, and save the more personal or challenging questions for the end. (For more interviewing tips, watch the five-minute video “Four Tips for an Effective Interview” by StoryCorps or read “Interview Tips Sheet” by What Kids Can Do.)