POLL: 20% Of Teachers ‘Unlikely’ To Return If Schools Reopen In The Fall

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If schools reopen in the fall, 1 out of 5 teachers said they would be ‘unlikely’ to return, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll published Tuesday. 

After the coronavirus pandemic forced teachers and students to start distance learning, educators have reported having a harder time doing their jobs. Around two-thirds said they are doing more work and 83% of them said that distance learning just made it harder to do their jobs at all, according to the poll

J.W. White, a middle school teacher from Fort Worth, told USA Today he felt “very disconnected” from his students and that “they’re falling behind.” (RELATED: Fauci Says He ‘Fully’ Expects Schools To Reopen In The Fall As Coronavirus Is Brought ‘Under Control’)

Ninety-four percent of teachers said they were worried about their students, while half of the teachers reported being “very worried.” Three-quarters of teachers reportedly think their students are falling behind.

“For the first time … these last three months have felt like I’ve been doing a job, doing this to earn a paycheck,” high school teacher Andy Brown told USA Today. “The engagement level with the students hasn’t been there, and that’s the reason I got into this career – the interaction and the engagement and the seeing and feeling their excitement.” 

Parents also expressed concerns, with 59% of parents saying they would probably pursue distance learning options if schools were to reopen in the fall and another 30% indicating they are “very likely” to pursue at-home learning. 

Older teachers having reportedly had difficulty figuring out the technology used to do distance learning. Classes have had to use Zoom or other technologies for virtual meetings, and many have utilized online programs that let students submit assignments and see their grades. 

Teachers who had been on the job for five years or less said they felt they’d not been properly trained for the shift to online learning and indicated they had struggled the most with the transition to remote learning, USA Today reported.

Most families say they have the technology available for their child to succeed in distance learning, but the USA Today poll shows that nearly 1 in 5 families with a household income below $50,000 annually reported not having access to the necessary technology.

The majority of teachers said that they would wear a mask if they returned to school and the majority of parents also said they will send their child to school with a mask. However, both realize that enforcing social distancing between children will be difficult. 

Pittsburgh elementary-school teacher Andrea Rodriquez said that “having to be 6 feet apart is difficult for adults, and it’s even more difficult for kids,” according to USA Today.

“We try to do our best, but it’s not the same when they are in school so we can know that they’re understanding,” she added. “One week we were working and the other week everything changed. Nobody knew it would happen, what tools to use. We have learned on the way.”