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Appreciating educators

Across most of Eastern Ohio, school is out for the summer.

That doesn’t mean, though, that the hard work of educating young people has come to an end for area teachers. In fact, many are or soon will be engaged in supplemental summer classes designed to help students catch up on what they may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no doubt that 2020-21 was an extraordinary school year. It began with a great deal of uncertainty, following a summer of rising coronavirus caseloads and deaths. There were questions about how many students could safely be in a classroom at one time, whether it was safe for students to participate in athletic practices and sporting events, and how more vulnerable adult staff members could be protected from infection and serious illness.

Different districts addressed those concerns in different ways. Some reduced class sizes and had various groups of students attending in-person classes on different days. Others proceeded full steam ahead and tried to keep things as normal as possible. Some transitioned entirely to remote learning when things were at their worst, particularly when cases were identified among staff or students.

We heard a great deal about how certain students were struggling with remote learning. While some had insufficient internet connections, others lacked the self-discipline to complete their assignments when working outside their usual setting. For some students, the lack of socialization took a real toll on their mental and emotional health.

Through it all, though, our teachers adapted. They set up offices at home where they could broadcast lessons to their students. They found ways to provide one-on-one help. They made time to talk with parents. They answered emails, text messages and phone calls from students, parents and colleagues at all hours of the day and night.

And when it was time to return to the classroom, they did so enthusiastically — ready to keep teaching. Let’s remember to appreciate them for that.

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