There is not a single place left on earth where Covid 19 hasn’t left its scars of brutality, pain, and loss. People all over the world shut themselves in, while the health care around the globe became inadequate and economies began to fall. Amongst all the devastation, another pillar of our society fell, but due to its non-immediate nature at the time, it checked quite low on everybody’s priority list. Now that we have finally begun tipping the scales to our favor in this uphill battle against Covid 19, we must address and assess the damage caused to education, while also realizing the various adversities faced by the people involved in it.
Many large school districts have been closed for almost an entire school year across the United States. Many teachers and school employees in several countries employed in private schools are barely surviving on reduced pay, a lot of these teachers and school employees are even out of jobs. Andy Jordan Principal believes that small rural schools have had the advantage against large schools in this setting by being mobile and able to adjust quickly to continue their in person learning. For most schools, the school infrastructure both physically and qualified teachers have taken a big hit. According to the Illinois Educational Job Bank, as of March 16, 2021 there are currently over 1,600 teaching positions that are posted. But one might argue, weren’t online classes started to compensate for the same? Haven’t many schools begun operations on alternate day basis? Yes, these questions do make sense, and they must be asked, but things are not as simple as they seem.
Online classes did and still does seem as the wise solution to compensate for physical classes, that is to speak in an ideal condition. Sadly, the reality was far from ideal. Many facilitators and teachers were daunted by the technological challenges posed by a digital medium, not every teacher is tech savvy, and given the short notice it made adapting worse. Teachers, parents, and students have been frustrated with online learning and many districts are demanding that school boards send students back to full in person learning. Some schools have struggled and have spent half the class time troubleshooting and making things work. The students being the more tech savvy generation found ways to bunk class, in many instances a student could just freeze their screen while turning off the microphone and go about their own business. In essence, classes lost their structure and discipline, the poor communication due to a new medium only made things worse. In third world countries the very availability of high bandwidth internet connection was a challenge. So as much as online classes were an honest attempt, they were by any measure far from ideal.
Alternate day schools by dividing a single class strength into two does work, but with an obvious defect, the study time literally gets cut down to half. Yes, it is better than no school time at all, but it is nowhere close to enough. Also, it fails in some schools where the teacher-student ratio is more than 1:30.
Still this is not an article which criticizes the attempts of the governing bodies or the understaffed and often under equipped schools, the efforts put by educators during Covid 19 were nothing less than heroic, they broke free from their comfort zones in an attempts to reach students, in a time where people could care less about formal education. What this article does talk about is how education was dealt a significant and costly blow when it comes to student education. According to Andy Jordan Principal this is why it is so important to work hard to meet the challenges to keep the school building open and functioning as every day a school is shut down is essentially a day of lost learning. The ultimate quality of education which was received by students was at most times incomplete, unstructured and of poor quality not for a lack of effort but due to the incredibly adverse circumstances.
Now that we have begun coping with Covid 19, with vaccines coming out in most countries, we must concentrate our efforts in reviving the education back to its former glory, for its effects will not be felt today but many years down the road. It is essential for school leadership to work towards the gap in education that has been widened by Covid 19 and to work on strategies to implement summer programs that will give students a chance to get back to student achievement levels before Covid 19.
Article Written By: Andy Jordan Principal
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Andy Jordan, Ed.S.
Andy Jordan is a first generation college graduate who has dedicated his career to improving schools and fighting educational equality. Please follow and comment as we discuss the educational process. For more information and for videos please visit Principal Andy Jordan's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndyJordanPrincipal