Jones teaches middle school students in Longmont. Last week, the St. Vrain Valley School District said it would move forward with a hybrid-model of education when students arrive August 18.
“As teachers, we’ll be in the building every day, five days a week. Kids will come on an alternating schedule. We’ll have half the students in the school at one time and the other half at a different time,” Jones said. “It does take an additional lift for teachers to teach online and in-person at the same time.”
With three weeks before school starts, teachers like Autumn Jones say they’re putting aside a long list of concerns with coronavirus and preparing to provide the best education possible.
“Everybody is scared, in some way or another. Whether it’s for their physical health or their mental health,” Jones said. “We have to learn how to do that and to teach the content and we also have to know the principals of self-care and watch out for our own mental health. Our own stress levels as we encounter all these new challenges.”
There’s shrinking time for teachers to figure out how to adjust to distancing students and still engaging them in learning.
“Just by the nature of safety protocols we have to remove a lot of the fun. I’ve never taught in a middle school setting where I can’t have the kids work together,” Jones said. “Now I’m having to think about education in a completely different way. In a way that goes against a lot of the stuff I was taught in my teacher prep programs.”
Jones penned an opinion article about more of her concerns with returning to the classroom. She’s hoping parents, students, teachers and administrators will be willing to accept there’s no perfect solution for a very complex issue.
“We all have to meet, and to come up with a solution that works for everybody that’s facing this big obstacle,” she said.