Teaching After the Apocalypse
Online classes. Face masks. Hand Sanitizer. Physical distancing. For the last year, schools across the country have been trying to establish practices that protect students and staff from contracting COVID-19 and yet still deliver lessons that meet students’ educational and developmental needs. The questions on the minds of educators and parents alike are, “When will we get back to normal?” And “What will ‘normal’ be?”
As more people are vaccinated and schools begin to relax pandemic policies, we should see classrooms refill with students and teachers working face-to-face and side-by-side. However, the new awareness that we are susceptible to apocalyptic pandemics will not quickly fade.
I believe that wearing masks and frequent use of hand sanitizer will become routine in society at large and in schools. I believe that some people will want to continue distance learning for safety and convenience, but I also believe that we can safely return students to the classroom with some careful planning.
One potential benefit of the pandemic is the understanding that we cannot return to overcrowded classrooms. We need to decrease the number of students in each class by investing more in education. Hire more teachers and pay them at a rate that is commensurate with their training and professional status. Build more schools and classrooms with proper ventilation systems. Statesmen and educators should take advantage of the changes that COVID-19 has forced on us and provide the best post-apocalyptic future possible for our students.