Teachers Are Mad - But Not About Remote Learning
Teachers are not complaining about the online learning - not really.
There’s been a ton of teacher complaints about remote learning since we went digital last school year. We’ve all seen the memes. We’ve read the tweets, watched the video clips, skimmed the threads on Facebook.
And with good reason. Teaching from behind a screen may be better than dawning PPD and keeping a six-foot bubble, but not by much. There are a lot of really terrible things about remote learning. To start:
- Kids are by nature kinesthetic learners. Remote learning is not.
- Kids surf the web and think we can’t see the reflection change the color of their faces.
- Microphones are always too loud or too quiet.
- Turning you camera off shouldn't count as being present in class
- Kids are getting up for snacks all the time
- Kids take a walk in the middle of a lesson
- There’s a ton of hidden moments in a day where you’d normally build rapport that have all just disappeared.
And so on.
But it’s my theory that teachers are not complaining about the online learning - not really. The truth is that as teachers, our grievances go much deeper. It’s more like, we’re complaining about the cumulative assault of being overworked, undervalued, and underpaid that has carried on for decades. It’s just parading as frustrations about online learning right now.
I was a teacher in public schools for four years - I left to pursue my masters, and thanks to a little bit of terrible timing, managed to graduate into a historic hellfire of a combination pandemic & recession. I still teach on the side while I blog, but I don’t have a horse in the race anymore like public school teachers do.
But I can speak from experience and say that most things about teaching in a public school setting are totally bogus. Teaching is my lifeblood, but: we are subject to chancellor demands of curricular changes, must ensure that all of our lessons are sufficiently rigorous, bound to canny social-emotional learning buy-ins, required to implement a carousel of trendy silver-bullet pedagogies, and admin are usually as unhelpful as they think they are helpful - that’s all before you even get a chance to teach your kids.
Historically, teachers have never been treated terribly well. There’s never been any particular respect to the profession; not culturally. Teachers are paid less than their professional counterparts, their federal budget is severely and consistently cut, and the 10-day fever pitch back in March where everybody on social media decided that teachers deserve to be paid like kings really just displays that there’s dearth of voices who believe it when it’s not #trending.
So to explain to the non-teachers out there who don’t quite understand the whole to-do, here are a few reasons why teaching sucks so bad and we’re all mad about online learning.
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Passionate educator writing insights on remote learning, early education, and social justice. Founder of Heads Up Learning, K-12 educator, blogger, and ☕️ addict.