As Schools Re-Evaluate, Teachers Say Remote Learning Is Burning Out Staff And Students

Sep 25, 2020

The final weeks of September and early October will be a critical time for many school leaders as they re-evaluate how to bring students back to school.
Credit (FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU)

Many of Indiana's school leaders are grappling with tension in their communities as they consider how and when to bring more kids back into schools, but teachers say they're feeling more pressure than ever to manage classes in-person and online, as well as their own safety.

Most schools in Indiana started the new academic year with some sort of in-person instruction, but teachers say the so-called "hybrid" learning models are burning them out – fast. 

Crawfordsville High School teacher Emily Race said her school is bringing most students back for in-person learning next week, but with some kids still learning online from home because of quarantine or safety concerns, she's not feeling any relief.

"So the only real change is that I have to create new seating charts to try to space out twice as many students in the same physical space," she said.

Race says many teachers are working into the evening and over the weekends just to keep up. 

Paul Utterback teaches at the middle school. He said remote learning hasn't been good for students either.

"Academically, this has been not good, especially for the middle school. We have many students who are failing and failing catastrophically," he said.

He says some content is too challenging at home, or students don't have the right resources and support. 

But teachers don't all agree on the same approach to bringing students back into classrooms. 

Many, including Race, still worry about the risks of catching and spreading COVID-19.

Schools in several areas will shift their learning models or re-evaluate over the next few weeks, including schools in Vigo and Boone Counties, South Bend, and Indianapolis.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.