Behind all the anger, fear and frustration caused by the pandemic, behind all the changes in rules and procedures, it was the teachers.
Teachers left trying to focus on studying during the pandemic while others argued about everything else.
“Last year I had 163 students in my class on my list,” said Seneca Denman, a teacher at Boude Storey Middle School. “I had 65-70 children every day, that’s a lot of children who didn’t go to school.”
Denman said she kept hearing debates that distance learning doesn’t work. She laughed and said the problem was not the instruction, it was the behavior.
“When it came to participation, the students would say, ‘I’m not in the classroom, you can’t force me, I’m home.’
Denman said those who actually attended learned and did very well. Technology has improved learning.
“I can tell you amazing stories about how my kindergarten kids have advanced in their technological skills,” said Jose Armendariz, a teacher at the John J. Pershing Elementary. He found several new teaching methods that he says had an immediate impact on how his students stored information.
The educators we spoke to say overwhelmingly that it would be a mistake to go back to how they taught before the pandemic.
“I absolutely believe this is the best opportunity to rethink education,” said Michael Hinojosa, superintendent, Dallas ISD. “I think this is our best chance to transform education.”
Are you reconsidering it?
Educators across the country suggest that the school model has remained unchanged for so many students for years. Students learn the same way as their great-grandparents, with a few tweaks along the way. Could it be time for a drastic change? Lots of people say yes, but how? You will hear everything from technology to professional training, business partnerships to stronger teachers.
“If you ask educators how to solve this problem, they will tell you what works. They’ll tell you that in-depth tutoring, advanced learning opportunities, community schools, ”said Kim Anderson, executive director of the National Education Agency.
Seneca Denman told us that no matter what the big decision makers say, she knows where her head will be.
“I will never teach again like I did before the pandemic. I’ve learned a few things, ”she said. The tech pieces will be there, they won’t go away. A whole new world just opened up. “