TORONTO – Teachers across the country are struggling for timetables, class sizes and conditions unknown before the first day of an unprecedented school amid a pandemic.
There are challenges that teachers do not know what to expect from facilities that are not eligible for the new health regulations.
London, camel. In, an art teacher had to move her classroom between two rooms so that she could fit students who needed physical distance.
“I’m worried about what my day will be like, because it’s completely different from what I’m been doing for 29 years,” Christine Butchler told the CTV news channel.
The high school art teacher told her that she only got her schedule on Friday, yet she did not know what her “daily timetable” would be.
Raising her issues is the landscape in which she works.
“I have been teaching in a rural high school for over 150 years and there are four additions to it, so every part of the school is different,” she says.
“My special part of the school does not have air conditioning. I have a very small classroom that, at best, can hold 21 children when I have four at one table. I have 24 in my current classroom. ”
Small class sizes and good air circulation in the room are required to keep students and staff safe during COVID-19, but this can be very difficult to achieve in some areas.
Butchler says a lot of creativity is needed from the principal and the school.
“So we’re really moving furniture, taking furniture from the classrooms,” she says.
Her own small art room was going to be used as a large supply room to store art supplies, with students sitting in the adjoining classroom, which used to be a “fashion room”.
“So I go back and forth between those two rooms to adapt to social distance, but social distance in our school is very difficult,” she says.
This is also true in new schools.
On the other side of the country, Linda Kwan is preparing to teach high school English in Vancouver again under these strange circumstances.
While she was excited to see the students, she was also “a little anxious.”
“I have been chatting with my co-workers about their feelings for the past few weeks. Some of them are scared, ”she said.
She taught briefly during the epidemic, allowing students to optionally return to private classes in June. But by then, the number of students who were comfortable coming back when it was optional was very small.
“I was afraid to put more effort into the plan without seeing my students at first and how many would actually look and how it would be,” she says.
Kwan said she did not have to fight with the old building, and that her classroom was “not so small”, but even as she turned around the desks, she could see how difficult the physical distance was.
“Our back-to-school plan is a hybrid of face-to-face and remote, so it reduces our class size to a maximum of 15,” she says.
“But even with […] All the desks were physically away, I could only fit 12 people there, and I had to stand close to them on my whiteboard. I am worried about the congestion of dead bodies and bags. ”
Most teachers still do not know how much to plan for students, especially in areas where the remote’s split model and person learning are used.
One such teacher was Deborah Buchanan-Walford, a teacher from Toronto, Ontario. She also fears how the rules will affect her particular students: adults in the high school system.
“A lot of what is said for students in high school is the same for us, it’s not really the best to see that they are adults and they have different needs,” she says.
Her students arrive “on certain days of the week” and then do the rest of their work online.
“So it can be a bit of a challenge, again, to make sure we do our best to coordinate, work and deceive children and other things, and get the curriculum the same way for adults. As much as possible. “
She pointed out that religious places in schools are not allowed in many projects, such as cafeterias or break rooms, adding to the problems, especially for students with conditions that require facilities.
In many provinces, teachers are frustrated by school plans from private school. Now the responsibility of getting back to work from school is on their shoulders.
Kwan, like Butcher, worked in a different province, but only received her schedule last Friday.
“I’m still trying to digest it and see how it works and it’s a little more.”
Butchler thinks Ontario’s plan is “too late.”
“We weren’t involved as teachers, and it made it harder. But now that we’re figuring out how to make it work in our classroom, I don’t think it’s given us enough time.”