Covid-19 Teaching Diary Day 12: Same Title, Different Job

I am connected to many teachers through social media and real life friendships. They teach in all kinds of settings - public, private, charter, and religious schools. We all technically have the same title, teacher. But the past few weeks have made it abundantly clear that our jobs are fundamentally different.

Our schools have different resources. The communities we serve have different resources. The kids and families we serve have wide ranges of experiences with privilege and trauma.

This has always been true. The switch to remote learning or "disaster distance learning" has just shed fresh light on the disparities across communities and the schools that serve them.

I have a friend who teaches 13 kids in normal circumstances. Now she's teaching 13 kids remotely. She is focusing mainly on social-emotional support, but also providing instruction, including 1:1 phonics support for a struggling reader in her class.

Over the past couple of weeks I have seen about 15 kids on average on my video calls. But that is 15 out of 33. I'm trying to provide support and instruction for the kids I see, while desperately trying to connect with the remaining kids.

There are many other differences I could name. The level of tech literacy and support at home. The difference in stress around income, housing, food... but the point seems clear. Our jobs are completely different. They feel worlds apart in this moment, and I'm realizing they always have been. It will take some time to know what to do with this anger and heartache.


I'll end with some celebrations today:

  • I spoke with two students over the phone today who I haven't talked to since school closed.
  • Another student got on a call for the first time today.
  • Two students who are learning English are getting more comfortable on video calls. I think the use of an Arabic interpreter on the phone is helping.
  • Today we began closing circle as a daily routine.


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