The 2020 School Year, Teachers Facing Challenges As Expected

Posted at 11:55 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 23:55:43-05

LANSING, Mich. — Back in August, we introduced you to a handful of teachers. They were incredibly nervous about the upcoming school year. As the holidays approach, Chris Conte checked back in on the State of Education in their virtual classrooms.

It had all the makings of being a school year like none other, and months in teachers from coast-to-coast are seeing those predictions play out.

Phillip Starostka explained "I’m still really worried about the academic progress." Phillip Starostka and Dr. Kenyae Reese were part of a panel of educators we talked to over the summer.

With the virus raging, it was unclear how things might play out. "There are more silver linings than I was expecting at the beginning of the year." Phillip Starostka's kindergarden students have all been learning virtually this fall.which has it's own unique challenges. "I would give anything to give my kids a high five, a hug, to be able to be like, hey come on focus. It’s a lot more powerful in person than over the screen.

His biggest concern is that students will have major gaps in their education once they're back in those empty classrooms.

Dr. Reese shared that "some kids are really struggling with attendance."

At the high school level different problems playing out. Many of Dr. Reese's students, who are also learning virtually, have started part-time jobs during the school day because their parents have been laid off. "We’re seeing high school kids who have to watch little siblings because parents are off and back at work, it’s then juggling, I’m a student but i also have to monitor my sister or brother. There’s a lot more responsibility.\

And, it's not just students who are having trouble navigating things. "It’s been hard to see true veterans and your level five teachers really struggle to incorporate different types of technology and sustain engagement for kids."

But both of these educators have seen moments of hope this year.and plenty of resilience.

As Phillip Starostka explained "my kids have been amazing, they’ve been working super hard." Dr. Reese shared that "you wanna fight harder you wanna do more."

Important lessons for both students and teachers as we navigate this pandemic.

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