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Friday, April 24, 2020

Coronavirus distance learning upends teachers' workflow - Los Angeles Times

Coronavirus distance learning upends teachers' workflow - Los Angeles Times

Inside teachers’ never-ending crisis shifts: ‘You just keep going all day and all night’ 

It’s just past 8 a.m. at the Inglewood elementary school where sixth-grade teacher Aba Ngissah has taught for seven years.
The blinds on classroom windows, normally open, are drawn, and hundreds of parents and students, rather than rushing for the start of class, are lining up outside the front gate waiting for food.
Ngissah is starting her day in the cafeteria — against a backdrop of giant tissue-paper flowers that are slowly falling apart more than a month after she and her students made them for Read Across America Day. She works quickly alongside other volunteer teachers and Inglewood school district staff, filling hundreds of brown paper bags with boxed cereal, sandwiches, milk, apples and cookies.
It’s been about a month since Hudnall Elementary School shut down, its 400 students among the 6.1 million K-12 California students whose campuses are closed.
After every bag is claimed on this recent Friday, Ngissah will help give out laptops. In the afternoon, she goes home, washes her hands and changes her clothes to protect her elderly mother, who is staying with her. About 1 p.m., she’ll sit down at her computer and begin her real job.
“You just keep going all day and all night,” she says.
That’s just what it means to be a teacher right now.

Parents line up for meal bags at Hudnall Elementary School

Parents line up early April 4 in front of Hudnall Elementary School for meal bags.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

An unprecedented moment

Nothing — not her classroom experience, her skills as a teachers union organizer nor her work introducing online learning tools — prepared Ngissah for this moment when her classroom would be locked and her students sent home to isolate themselves against the novel coronavirus.
Her first priority is making sure her kids are fed.
At Hudnall, 90% of students come from low-income households and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, so the safety net of school meals has always been important. Right now, it’s vital.

At times, Ngissah and other teachers and staff members use their own money to buy toilet paper, cleaning supplies, ramen noodles, rice and meat for families.

It all happened so abruptly, this radical change to schooling.

When schools closed in mid-March, Ngissah sent books and work packets with CONTINUE READING:  Coronavirus distance learning upends teachers' workflow - Los Angeles Times