I was listening to a talk radio program last week and the topic was the impact of the pandemic on the education of children. The focus of this discussion was on teachers who were also parents. Teachers who were teaching virtually who had children who were learning virtually - all in the same home and at the same time.
Imagine what that must be like. Parent/Teachers were calling in telling of their struggles as they balance the education of their children and the education of our children. All were expressing guilt for not being able to do both well – parenting and teacher-ing. All that called into the program on this particular day were women who loved their profession and yet were feeling the pressure that this pandemic has put on their lives and their careers.
One story was so compelling that I tell it here.
A parent/teacher called in who taught math to third graders and had about 90 students in different classes that she taught daily. She was also a mother of four children; all in elementary and in middle school. OMG. She told of how she was torn when her own children were in their virtual classrooms with their four different teachers and needed help, adding that she could not stop teaching our children to help her children. She expressed through tears her guilt for not being accessible to them and yet she also knew how much she loved to teach. Her profession called for her to stay on the task for our children and put aside her children until after the school day was over.
So many children are falling behind in their studies and in their ability to think critically, engage with other children and travel the journey of school with a friend. Children are natural learners and whether they do it in class or on zoom, the ability to learn is paramount to not only their lives but to the existence of this country. They will soon take over. Are they gonna be ready if we don’t get them ready? If we can’t begin to appreciate and respect each other as the grown folks how will they?
We need our teachers. They are critical. A good teacher can affect the trajectory of a life. I know most of us can remember the teacher that made the difference in your life. Mine was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Wylie!
The pandemic affects us all. Teaching affects us all. I don’t pretend to have any answers but I do think we should all take some time to thank the teachers and in some cases the college professors in our childrens’ lives with a shout out: a card, an email or something that says I see you and I thank you for all that you do.
Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears monthly in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to email@example.com.