Notice: I am a teacher. Here’s why you should send your kids back to school in person.

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Courtney is a 20-year-old educator at Chollas-Mead Elementary and a senior policy researcher with Teach Plus California. In 2021, he was selected as SDUSD District Primary School Teacher of the Year.

A few years ago, I retired as a volunteer firefighter. Shortly after, I put my helmet and badge in a display case. This year, as a teacher, I completed my last Zoom course. I then took off my helmet and realized that I will also be placing it in a display case. In fact, I withdraw from online teaching altogether and go back to being a classroom teacher – a real classroom teacher.

Parents, you’ve probably read that back to school, real school, is now much safer and even offers exciting new opportunities, thanks to federal and state stimulus money. But here are a few more reasons why you should take your kid’s helmet off this New Year.

I am a much better teacher in the classroom.

Education in general was visible to a much larger audience during the forties. As a parent myself, I know a lot more about my children’s teachers than before the pandemic. But as a teacher, I also know that I haven’t seen the best of teachers. In fact, in many ways, I’ve seen them at their worst.

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This is because the teachers weren’t near our best online at all. I know I wasn’t. National surveys show that teachers did not feel efficient and did not enjoy teaching virtually. In reality, a by Horace Mann Educators Corp. found that 1 in 4 people even considered leaving the profession. Whatever you think of my performance online, rest assured that I am much better in class. I know it, you know it and your kids know it.

Virtual education has been tried and should be considered inferior because it is.

Virtual education has a proven track record in K-12 education, and it’s not. attractive. As early as 2009, the federal Race To The Top grant fund encouraged large urban districts to allow virtual programs, which quickly became milking cows. Drop-out rates soared in these schools, scores plummeted, and when disenfranchised families and students returned to public schools, their funds often remained with virtual school corporations, leaving districts to fall apart. to struggle.

In 2011, The New York Times found that these results were the norm in every state. With only a third of its schools making annual annual progress, the virtual K-12 programs aggressively targeted the poorest students, realizing significant benefits and falling short of providing high-quality education. quality of any kind.

I can’t hold students to account online, but in the classroom I can make sure your child understands what I’m teaching and is fluent in the subject.

If you followed the back and forth on state testing administration in 2020, then you understand that no one really knew how to do it or what the tests would tell us. Officially, districts told teachers that much of what was normally expected of children would be optional, and that was understandable – to some extent. But the truth was, if a student came on video or on a black screen playing “Call of Duty” (but technically in physics), teachers had no way of knowing until we tested them. Importantly, this meant that there was no accountability for students who could participate but choose not to.

And the tests weren’t any better. This is because during the pandemic it was virtually impossible to guarantee the safety of the tests and in fact provided us with reliable information about our students. But in the classroom, while the parents are at work, while the parents are busy, I can make sure that their children are learning what I am teaching them, and if they don’t, I can remedy it effectively.

Children need to be active and socialize more than ever.

Whenever I see an ad suggesting that a virtual learning academy offers opportunities to socialize and engage in a meaningful way, I feel like I’m watching an infomercial. Yes, compared to the lack of socialization and exercise, that’s right – virtual academies provide opportunities for socialization and movement. But my students here in my classroom have more socialization and more physical exercise between them before lunch than a virtual academy can offer in a month. And if that’s not exactly what our kids need right now, then I don’t know what it is.

If all of that isn’t enough to make getting your child back to a brick and mortar school a priority, remember this: Higher education in the United States works like a filter, hindering those who “run to the top.” high ”in opportunities for an ultimately higher salary. The lasting educational effect of this pandemic will be the impact it will have on your child’s ability to compete for college places and employment opportunities.

Give your child the best opportunity to pass this filter. Also take off your kid’s helmet and send it back to school with teachers like me. Your child will know that we are delighted to see them, even through our masks.

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