Heartbreak and Unreliable Wi-Fi: What's On Indiana Teachers' Minds Amid COVID-19

Apr 6, 2020

Jonathan Calhoun teaches elementary school music in Bedford, including at Stalker Elementary school, which is permanently closing at the end of this school year under the district's consolidation plan.
Credit Seth Tackett/WTIU

Abrupt school closures last month took many people by surprise, and the state announced Thursday school buildings will stay closed for the rest of the school year. 

The decision announced this week was less of a shock, but teachers are still adjusting to the new reality amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim Barany teaches at Bedford North Lawrence High School. She says she didn't know the last time she saw her class of freshmen, it would be the last for the school year.

"It wasn't like saying goodbye the right way," she says. "It's hard to think that we didn't get that closure on this year, but of course lots of people are in this boat." 

Barany says she's less concerned about grades right now and more about the well-being of her students, especially for kids facing increased pressure at home during the closures, or who might lose family members to the virus.

And with teachers all over Indiana adapting their lessons for students to learn at home, a number of questions have been raised about how to serve all students, including those without internet access or at-home supports

But teachers need access to the internet too, and not all of them have it. Jonathan Calhoun is an elementary school music teacher, also from Bedford. He says he lives outside of town and doesn't have reliable Wi-Fi.

"It would be a really big adventure for me to park my car next to the public library and use their Wi-Fi and try to do everything from my car," he says.

He says he's been posting videos and emailing with parents to keep providing lessons to students using his phone. 

Though plenty of challenges remain, he says the situation has resulted in even more collaboration among teachers too – something he hopes continues after the pandemic.