“We will treat every child like one of our own.”The RCSD logo.
I implore you to stand by that.

Students should be first and foremost in every decision that is made. I believe that in person instruction is KEY to that, but without clear plans that do not change daily from our “leaders,” we are creating more of a disservice to them.

As a teacher I have spent much time DAILY explaining to students about the changes that are coming because both they and their families have been uninformed or misinformed. Students are scared on so many levels. They want to be in school, but are scared about what that will look like. Many didn’t realize they had the option and now it’s too late and they are on a waiting list. Think about this – if YOU were on a “waiting list” to get your paycheck, how would you feel? Their education is their paycheck right now. 

Teachers are working harder than they ever have. We start working first thing in the morning and it never stops throughout the day and into the night. We stepped up to the challenge of remote learning. We have given students a routine. We have built trust during unprecedented times and now have to turn that upside down yet again?

The most heartbreaking question I have received from students is for them to ask me how I will still be able to teach them online if I’m teaching students at school. I have responded by reminding them that we, as their teachers, haven’t let them down yet, so we won’t now. I just spent my lunch, as I do daily, with students concerned about how teachers will still teach them remotely if they are not on “the list” to go back.

However, the fact that students HAVE to ask that makes me shudder. They should be able to rely on the people making decisions to give them REAL and timely answers.

The RCSD response has mostly been that we are providing PD on simultaneous instruction. Great – mostly led by staff who are NOT actually teaching.

I am also a human being and life got in the way of those Wednesday “trainings.” My grandmother passed away from Covid and the very limited funeral service was during one of those “trainings.” The first thought that came through my mind was that I was actually thankful that I only needed to take Wednesday off as opposed to taking time off from instruction for students. That’s pretty scary that I thought that way, but I put my students first as do all of the teachers.

I have taught in the RCSD for over 20 years. I have felt proud to do so because I know the positive impact we can have.

My final thought regarding reopening is about “opening the windows” for ventilation. I will not even speak about how careless that is when we live in a frigid environment and students often come to school for the warmth. Open windows in a classroom is DANGEROUS. Having taught in a school (Interim Health Academy) for 20 years, working with students with mental health challenges, I cannot in good conscience open the windows if it comes to that, especially while I’m trying to monitor students in person and online simultaneously.

Again, “We will treat every child like one of our own.”

Marisa Simmonds

English Teacher

Roberto Clemente School #8