SEATTLE – On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee made the difficult decision to keep 1.2 million students in Washington home for the remainder of the school year, joining more than a dozen other states.
He said the country could not take the opportunity to open instructions in place this year, which jeopardized the country’s success in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Inslee and State Schools Inspector Chris Reykdal noted that distance learning would not be as effective as being in class. It is up to the Washington teacher to bridge the gap as much as possible.
“Here it is! Here I am teaching my class, in the middle of the kitchen, right next to the baby changing table. Very glamorous,” Kim Bielski said with a laugh, pointing around him with Zoom.
Bielski is a first grade teacher at Little Cedars Elementary School in Snohomish. He navigates teaching first graders from afar while raising two of his own children at home.
His kitchen looks very different from the now empty classroom where he usually devotes his heart to teaching his students. While the room was empty, at his house he always tried to call, answer emails and phone calls and arrange video meetings with students. He became creative, as did the teachers, but only so far.
“It’s not the same when you aren’t with one-on-one children,” he said. “When you are with them, you have a very good feeling for how their day is going, what things they understand, what they might need help with. Distinguishing, deciding who needs what at the time and attracting the small groups and help the one and only children and truly achieve what they need individually. We can’t do that either. “
Bielski said he is also concerned about children where school is a safe place for those who provide consistency in their lives.
When a working mother conjures up a 16-month-old child and a first-grader at home, she also deals with parents who are assigned at home school at the same time.
“I think grace is the most important thing we can give to one another,” he said. “I really think everyone is doing their best, we have never had to do this before.”
Towards today, Bielski said it was increasingly clear that canceling direct instructions for the school year was a possibility, but for him and his colleagues, the final decision was heartbreaking.
“We did not know that it was the last day with our class and it was very difficult because if we knew it was the last day with our class, we would do something to celebrate or close the year for children,” he said. “So it’s something that really interests us.”
Even so, he said the most important thing was that students and their families remained healthy, the driving force behind the state’s decision.
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