KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — It's teacher appreciation week, and now more than ever, the spotlight is shining on just how important teachers are.
It has been a different school year, to say the least. Schools have been closed for almost two months now and remote learning has been challenging for many teachers, students and their families.
Jenny White, a 30-year veteran teacher and administrator in a Charlotte-area school, tells WCNC Charlotte coronavirus has highlighted inequalities within the education system.
Kids are relying on electronics for school now and not everyone has equal access to those resources.
Years from now, history books will show the wide-ranging impacts of the coronavirus. But right now, students are living through it, and their virtual education experience is not the same.
“Where we've seen equity issues in the past, this really points a laser at it,” White said.
She’s currently an assistant principal at a local elementary school.
She says some of her students don’t have access to internet or a device. Even she’s struggled with an unstable internet connection and so have teachers. Monday, only four of 18 second graders made it on a zoom call.
For someone who says her kids are her heart, being away from them is tough for White.
“We want them to be working on academics but we're more concerned about, how are you? Are you okay? Are you safe? Is everything okay in your world? Do you have enough to eat,” she said.
She thinks getting back to school in August is a pipe dream, especially without a vaccine, and when students are back in the classroom, it will have to look different.
“We're going to need more direct instruction, that may be smaller class sizes or that may be more paraprofessionals or tutors that can assist those students that now have a bigger gap than when they left in March,” says White.
She says students will be so used to being out of the classroom, it will be the “summer slide on steroids.”
This teacher appreciation week especially, their hard work and dedication should be applauded.
“Teachers said okay, challenge accepted, game on, we'll make this work," White said. "And they have. And they've done it in this state, in other states and across the globe. They've collaborated and they're all my heroes. They really are."
Monday, Governor Cooper signed 2 COVID relief bills allotting nearly $200 million to support schools.
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