Teachers reported for work this week for a crash course in educating their students from afar in the age of coronavirus.
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"People throughout the school, throughout the city maybe are a little nervous and jittery, but as we get our feet under us and we start to get the platform rolled out well and we start to make a connection with the students again, I think things will feel better for everybody,” said Nate Bonheimer, a math teacher and leader of the United Federation of Teachers chapter at Brooklyn Tech.
Brooklyn Tech is one of the city's most competitive high schools, and the largest high school in the nation.
Bonheimer and his fellow teachers have only a few days to, in effect, reinvent how they will educate their students.
"A little bit unprepared, I have lessons all over the place in folders and notebooks and binders and somehow I have to consolidate all of that," one teacher said.
Across the city, teachers were moving those lesson plans online, fast. Some teachers questioned the wisdom of having to attend the orientation sessions in person at a time when government officials are urging New Yorkers to stay home.
But Arthur Goldstein, a veteran teacher and UFT chapter leader at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, says he found the in-school training beneficial, because he was able to learn about platforms like Google Classrooms from the newer teachers he's usually mentoring.
“I was happy that so many people were supportive of me as a teacher, that all these young teachers were showing me how to use these things. It was very helpful to me to be there," Goldstein said.
Not all of the students will be learning at home. the city Tuesday rolled out plans for about one hundred "regional enrichment centers,” places students whose parents are essential workers can visit from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning next week.
Each classroom will hold no more than 12 students, and each site will have at least two nurses. They'll be staffed by Eduction Department and community-based organization workers, but not teachers.
That's because even in these physical centers, students will be learning remotely, connecting with their teachers and classmates from their home schools. Even under less than ideal circumstances, many teachers are just eager to see their students again.
“I’m gonna give it the best shot I can. I’m gonna try really hard. I love my students. I am excited about seeing them, even this way," Goldstein said.