In-person learning is back
The CH-UH school district is officially back to in-person teaching. It’s been a long time coming. Staying remote for as long as we did was the safest choice for our staff, students, and families. The decisions the district made became more controversial as the year progressed, but it made no sense to return in-person when COVID numbers were on the rise and a vaccine was months away.
There was a lot of pressure to return to in-person instruction, and a lot of pressure not to return. School districts throughout the nation were forced to make difficult decisions. These decisions were never popular with everyone. Our decision makers felt the pressure and listened to all points of view. CH-UH City Schools’ leadership based its decisions on the safety of all concerned. Now it’s time to move forward.
Attention is now focused on our students' progress over the past year. Are they behind? How will we know? There are state tests that the districts are being forced to administer, but those tests do not necessarily reveal if our students are behind.
In fact, most educators know that these tests give very little useful information. In my opinion, the state tests were designed to justify diverting a large portion of our district’s funding to private schools. As the test results become known, we can expect to see that all schools, even those that have been in-person all year, are going to show that students everywhere have struggled.
Our students will be OK, however. They will accomplish great things in life despite the impact of this challenging year. I am certain that by the start of the next school year, life will return to normal, and teaching and learning as we have previously known it will go on.
Our teachers and students will adjust. Teaching is always a challenge. Often teachers make their work look easy, but that’s not the case. There are so many obstacles that teachers are always working to remove.
The next challenge we face is figuring out how to “do school” the same way we were doing it before the pandemic. Perhaps this is an opportunity to take what we have learned and do better for our students. Maybe what we’ve learned over the past year can help us to be more creative in our instruction.
This past year was not wasted. At the beginning of the next school year, we can’t go backward and just accept that our students made little progress. During the past year, teaching and learning were different—challenging, but productive. We will all come out of this stronger than before, and our students are going to be just fine!
Karen Rego has taught grades K-8 in the CH-UH district, and currently provides math and language support at Monticello Middle School. She is president of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union.