Teachers with children prepare for unprecedented year

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CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Teachers in New York are about to take on an unprecedented challenge: A full year of instruction in the age of COVID. It will test their abilities as not only educators, but—for those preparing for their own children as well—as parents.

Karen Schunk is a first grade teacher at Shenendehowa’s Orenda Elementary School. Tackling the job under the restrictions of a pandemic is not something she ever prepared for, but she feels we’re all up to the challenge.

“I never anticipated doing this. But the nice thing is, nowadays, the technology is so advanced, there’s so many options out there for the kids,” she says.

Schools closing last March proved to be the testing ground for that technology and what was to come, especially for the parents. Schunk says kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders “can’t get on a Google Meet by themselves. Teaching the parents was definitely hard, but after two weeks, the parents got use to it and were like, ‘Wow, this is actually easier than we thought.'”

Schunk is also a parent. She has two boys in elementary school in the Mechanicville District. Both begin in-person classes next week. But what happens if everyone ends up at home?

“Trying to have them on a Google Meet, [at the same time as] me on a google meet teaching my kids…it’s going to be a challenge,” she says. “We’ll figure it out. We’ll have to set different stations up in rooms of the house.”

Crazy, but somewhat manageable. Still, what happens if her boys are home and she’s still in her classroom?

“That’s a major problem! And I think it’s going to be for everyone if their kids have to be at home and they’re at work,” she says. “Fortunately, my husband can work from home. But he would have to take some time off. I might have to take some days to be with the kids. It’s definitely going to a challenge having them in a different district.”


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