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May 27, 2020

Dear Ed Leaders

At Insight ADVANCE we understand that it isn’t always easy for teachers to speak candidly to their administrators, and that’s  especially true during this unprecedented time. To help bridge that communication gap and give teachers a platform to be fearlessly honest, vulnerable and transparent, we asked teachers from across the country what they would like their ed leaders to know and understand during this difficult time of remote teaching.

“When the school year was disrupted, district leadership gave us about 7 hours for in-person collaboration to make the move to online schooling. They put a schedule in place, but abandoned it within 2 weeks for another plan. The changing expectations for grading practices, work hours, and synchronous and asynchronous learning added to teacher stress.”

– English teacher

“This current climate makes me wish that Ed leaders recognize the importance of connections teachers need to create with their learners. This means that sometimes curriculum set targets may have to take a back seat and cater for individual needs or emotional deficiencies that students face. In turn, this might call for individualized self-paced learning to cater for the inequities in education.”
– 8th Grade Teacher

“I want my administrators to understand that this isn’t going to look like a normal day for kids no matter how much we try to make it. Expecting that they are going to be in two 1 hr sessions and will be doing independent work for 3+ hours knowing they are not being graded a day is not reasonable. We are struggling with our own kids, too, and are often up late into the night because we have to homeschool our own kids as well as our school kids online. Everyone is struggling, and we as teachers are often looked at as that structure, that glue that holds things together, but sometimes it is hard when we ourselves are struggling. But as teachers we will put on that brave face, that smile, and be there for our students the best way we can.”

– 4th Grade Teacher

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“Include us in the contingency planning for next year. We are engaged, natural problem solvers, and want what’s best for students and the learning community.”

– English and History Teacher

“I work in EFL. ..I wish they’d pay for us to use secure apps (not Zoom) like Webex..not leave us to pay for it.”

– English Teacher

“I expect our school leaders to understand that we went into this uncertain time with almost no skills in online/distance learning and there is a steep learning curve; we won’t be perfect straight away. I want them to recognize that the entire scope of teaching and learning has changed, but we rose to the challenge and changed with it to serve our students.”

– High School English Teacher

“During this pandemic your staff and students have needed you. We needed you for support and guidance. Unfortunately, you’ve fallen short. As if the back burner has not been hot enough, the lack of “lean on me” has been frustratingly obvious. We called on you for resources, you ignored us. We called on you for planning guidance, you said send a workbook and assign pages. We called on you for access to our rooms, you said get in and out in one day. Aside from these troubles, you failed to make any decisions. But instead waited for neighboring districts to be proactive and then we did as “our friends are doing”. Admin, I know we all have personal lives and responsibilities but I feel as if you left us to wonder and worry in the dark rather than take care of us like you promised.” 

– 5th Grade Teacher

“I think for all of us, we need to take this opportunity to move forward instead of trying to go back to the way things have always been. The teacher’s voice should be valued above all things as we forge a new path into a new normal! We have learned so much in these last few weeks. What will we do with it, and how can we use it to finally transform education for all our children?!”

– 4th Grade Teacher

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“I find that my admins are doing a great job and providing training we need. If there is anything we need they do their best to get us those tools. They hold faculty meetings on Zoom, each department holds daily office hours for questions on Meet in addition to optional software training during the mornings. Each training is recorded and posted on Classroom for those unable to be there live.”

– Math & Science Teacher

“I wish my district administrators knew that their restrictions on the edtech platforms we’re not allowed to utilize during this pandemic is going to contribute to long lasting inequities for our students. Now is the time to allow our kids full access to interactive, engaging, and creative tools, yet the concern for online safety is limiting us to turning in documents and slide presentations while nearby districts take advantage of this time to push learning to new capacities. Our conservative approach is going to hurt our already marginalized population of students and being a part of that is gut wrenching.”

– Elementary School Teacher

Educators, how are you adjusting to this new reality?

Feel free to share how you are adjusting and helping to support students and teachers from afar in our comments section. 

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