3rd week of back to school, some thoughts:

I saw two different family members today. One dropped off a loaf of bread, knocked on the door, then retreated down the stairs for a distanced visit. The second came to the door and masked before talking to us.

And it hit me...

It's going to be a lonely year.

This summer, our cohort included these people. Because my spouse and I are both teachers, our cohort is now more than 200 other children. And our own family support group aren't part of it any more. They can't be.

And in a lot of ways that's ok. We became teachers because we have a heart for kids, and we take our duty of care (in loco parentis) seriously. We've always helped students with more than the 3 Rs, so this is in our wheelhouse.

But it's going to be a lot.

It's hitting me how much of an ask this is for teachers

We're not used to helping carry out intense sanitizing routines. We're not used to helping students find the balance between safety procedures and sanity. Sussing out the situations when masks and guards can come down

All of those new little tasks take up time and energy. Cleaning, reporting, tracking, documenting. Moving classes so kids don't have to. Extra supervsion.

We're running around like chickens with our heads cut off months before we normally do that.

So when I hear the education minister say that she has done anything and everything to support reentry - that school boards want for nothing - that teachers' anxieties are normal, because everyone has anxiety?

It's patronizing.

Because my class sizes are no smaller than a regular year. Because my students still sit three to a table. Because the only support this government has provided me has been 2 masks, a 4L jug of hand sanitizer, and a face shield that never showed up.

And because I love my students I will show up every day and do my best to keep them safe. We'll sanitize and mask and count on being a little bit lucky. And I will love the time I spend with my students.

I'll stop seeing family and friends for their own safety.

So know that I'm not complaining about being back with my students.

But _don't_ tell me that you are doing anything and everything possible to limit the possibility of transmission within schools, @AdrianaLaGrange, because you're not.

And don't tell me that boards couldn't reduce risk with more funding, because they could.

Don't patronize us. We'll head in to our schools, mask up, and do our absolute best. It wouldn't kill you to listen to us, but at the very least don't patronize us.


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More from @reubenmahaffy

21 Aug
Further to Dr. Robinson's oft-quoted, now clarified Journal op-ed, this interview sheds light on why experts like Robinson and Hinshaw are more confident about our school reopening plans than many teachers.

Why are many teachers concerned? A thread:

1. Social benefits: Teachers are 100% on board with the fact that in person learning is better than online, for a swath of reasons

We agree.

Emergency remote learning was hard. Intentional online learning is better, but there's no substitute for butts in seats. Let's move on.
2. Healthcare workers do it every day: Yep, big shout out. The training and PPE they're afforded is in a different league though. Risk is minimized through protocols and protective equipment.

They aren't expected to make 2 cheap masks and 500mL of hand sanitizer last for 10 mo
Read 16 tweets
31 Jan
Curriculum Panel:

We can agree that some students in grades 1-5 struggle with literacy or numeracy.

We know that the earlier that these students are identified and can access extra supports, the better.

The panel and I don't disagree here. The panel and I DO disagree...
The curriculum panel and I DO disagree on how those students are best identified.

Standardized testing for early years students would catch some, sure, but is it effective? My high school students take standardized tests. Sometimes they are a good measure. Sometimes not.
Early years students already have a highly trained professional who spends more than 1000 hours with them over the course of the year. Their teacher is continually interacting with, assessing, teaching, and reassessing.

Their teacher is the professional who knows them best.
Read 9 tweets
4 Dec 19
"In Canada, socio-economically advantaged students outperformed disadvantaged students in reading
by 68 score points in PISA 2018. This is smaller than the average difference between the two groups
(89 score points) across OECD countries."

Why? Strong Public Education. 1/
Performance: Reading

Ok, we're doing well. Marginally better than our southern neighbors. But this isn't what interests me... /2
Equity in reading - Social Background

THIS is the graph that makes me proud. Do we really want to emulate the mediocrity we see to the south of us? Public education SHOULD be a great equalizer - this shows that we're doing a pretty darn good job at that. 3/
Read 6 tweets
29 Nov 19
I don't even know where to begin here...

1. I DON'T expect that a minister will necessarily have a background in their portfolio, and I know that the experience of a trustee is removed from the classroom.

2. I DO expect...

...2. I DO expect that a minister will work to understand their portfolio, by doing things such as meeting with front-line workers, stakeholders, and reading important framework documents (like curricula)....

For example, the program philosophy of the 2005 social curriculum:

Students are provided opportunities to: appreciate and respect how multiple perspectives, including Aboriginal and
Francophone, shape Canada’s political, socioeconomic, linguistic and cultural realities

Read 11 tweets

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