Nobody wants to live in a C19 world. All of us would love to return to “normal” — not some New Normal filled with such uncertainty, fear and chaos. Yet this is the hand we have been dealt. Many teachers now refuse to return to the classroom. We must move forward to reopen schools on Aug. 4 for the fall semester.
There is a discussion today whether Kahuku High School should change their Red Raiders nickname. Had a brief conversation with one student, Dawn Kaohe Kaohe. Look how she writes. This is a young lady who desperately needs to be back in school for formal education.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association (union) is urging the Board of Education to postpone the return of students to public school campuses. They claim educators need more time to prepare to work in the C19 era. Sounds like a lazy student … “I went to a party last night and didn’t finish my homework. I need more time to prepare.”
Hawai’i Department of Education had months to prepare. They posted plans online: Return to Learn. We all know the challenges. Fear and uncertainty has paralyzed teachers and parents. For example, the cafeteria (above) appears ready, although not complete. Could have plexiglas dividers; there are too many seats in one area; and schools must prepare for both in-person, blended and online learning. Easy fixes. Dinosaurs couldn’t adapt. We can.
“Today those challenges could mean life or death for some. When it comes to the daunting and ever more politicized question of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, the worry for our children’s wellbeing is paramount. Yet teachers are also confronted with a whole new set of dilemmas that most people would not consider.”
Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl
I’m a third-generation teacher. Heard every argument over the past fifty years — all sides. You can count on me to teach, substitute, fill-in, assist or do whatever I can to lend a hand in this crisis. None should ask others to march into danger unless they’re willing to go first. “Hey teachers, I’m raising my hand! Just like Eddie … I will go!”
Teachers have always been heroic. They’ve always sacrificed for students and their community. Although taxpayers continually underfund education, teachers found a way; although politicians dump irrational testing standards on them, teachers found a way; although the general public screams and disrespects the efforts of teachers, they continue to find a way.
Union president Corey Roenlee told media, “HSTA has no confidence that our school buildings are ready to open for our students. Our schools need more time to be able to create a healthy environment for our students and our teachers. Opening our schools quickly is not something we should do in a pandemic.” Quickly? These guys will wait for years. We’ve all had six months.
Teachers are ESSENTIAL workers. They’re as vital as healthcare workers. We expect DRs and nurses to suit up for battle each day. Some have died. They’re pleading with us to #MaskUp, distance, apply good hygiene rules and use common sense. Many of us do. Millions of Americans still do not.
Those who put food on our table are ESSENTIAL workers. If they stay home, we starve. They risk their lives for the rest of us.
Grocery workers stand at the cashier station eight hours per day and forty hours per week, if not more. They are ESSENTIAL and we need their sacrifice. We honor all their sacrifice.
Now, some teachers don’t want to go back to work and insist on keeping schools closed because they feel it’s too dangerous to be around all those kids. That’s not heroic.
“Although the average age of a school teacher in the United States is in the early 40s, putting them in a lower risk group, many career teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, nurses and janitors are older and at higher risk. Every school’s working faculty is a considerable percentage of its population and should be safeguarded appropriately.”
Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl
Parents Are Much of the Problem
Although kids and teens readily adapt to most challenges, parents imprint their emotional baggage on youngsters. For example, no child is born hating or being racist. These are learned behaviors from adults. Teresa Pena Hughes doesn’t “feel it’s right to make them wear a Fucking Mask !!!”
Right? We’re in a global pandemic. Students in other nations #MaskUp. Adults around the nation #MaskUp to work 8-10 hours per day. Our children are resilient. Parents are much of the problem at this time!
Lack of Cooperation Between Union and Administrators
When her students were hungry, my mother found a way. When there weren’t enough cleaning supplies, book or other resources, teachers found a way. Although the federal government sent the State of Hawai’i over $1.2 billion for C19-related expenses, local politicians and officials didn’t use it to prepare fully — in the opinion of teachers.
We knew schools needed to open. Seems top officials have been preparing. Now, three weeks from the start of the semester, once again it looks like teachers need to be both heroic and creative. Here’s a sample of HIDOH plans. For more, visit their website.
First school bell is ringing. Time to get ready to return to classes.
Target start dates:
- Teachers – July 29, 2020
- Students – August 4, 2020
Delivery of instruction:
- Blended learning
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”