teachers

How African generosity dried a teacher’s tears

Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.
Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.

In our series of letters from African journalists, Kenyan Joseph Warungu looks at the acts of generosity helping ordinary people through desperately trying times.

When Covid-19 hit Africa, the effects were devastating – but some people have been crushed more than others, by the illness but also by the measures to deal with it.

Private-school teachers, who make up a significant amount of the education workforce, have been particularly hard hit by school closures as they have no safety net and in most cases no firm return date either.

Many have turned to farming, cleaning and street hawking in the meantime.

‘Don’t cry, it’s ok’

The strain has become unbearable, moving many to tears – among them Akindele Oluwasheun Oladipupo in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

He and other teachers were full of hope in July when the Nigerian government said it would

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The Spin: Teachers Union, Mayor Lightfoot and a new game of brinksmanship? | Durkin says GOP candidates will use ComEd, Madigan as talking points in November election

Reopening schools for the looming new academic year already was gearing up to be a political brawl. But things amped up today as the Chicago Teachers Union — concerned that in-class learning would be dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic — was planning a House of Delegates meeting next week, a required move on the road to a potential strike.

Anyone who recalls the battles and brinksmanship that played out between union leaders and the mayor during last fall’s knows to brace themselves for a battle.

Parents and guardians were looking to a Friday deadline to inform Chicago Public Schools whether their students would attend in-person classes or stay home. But, as my colleagues reported, sources say CPS — whose CEO and Board of Education is appointed by the mayor — is expected to announce an all-remote learning plan as soon as Wednesday. A source told the Tribune the shift is

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How African generosity dried a crying teacher’s tears

Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.
Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.

In our series of letters from African journalists, Kenyan Joseph Warungu looks at the acts of generosity helping ordinary people through desperately trying times.

When Covid-19 hit Africa, the effects were devastating – but some people have been crushed more than others, by the illness but also by the measures to deal with it.

Private-school teachers, who make up a significant amount of the education workforce, have been particularly hard hit by school closures as they have no safety net and in most cases no firm return date either.

Many have turned to farming, cleaning and street hawking in the meantime.

‘Don’t cry, it’s ok’

The strain has become unbearable, moving many to tears – among them Akindele Oluwasheun Oladipupo in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

He and other teachers were full of hope in July when the Nigerian government said it would

Read More

Summit Teachers’ Union Expresses Concerns About School Reopening

SUMMIT, NJ — After revealing details of its school reopening plan last month (see them here), the Summit public schools planned to post the final plan on the district’s website (here) on Tuesday and host a forum remotely this Thursday.

But Summit’s teachers’ union, like certain other teachers’ unions locally and around the state, was concerned about aspects of returning to school in light of the coronavirus pandemic, asked about ventilation in the buildings, and more. They submitted a letter to the school board that’s posted below.

Last month, the district said it would allow students the option of either attending five days per week, single session with no lunch, or being all remote (the state has said that every district must offer an all-remote option).

This Thursday at 7 p.m., the district will host a “community forum regarding the district’s reopening plan.” Details of how to access it (via

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Kids’ mental health can struggle during online school. Here’s how teachers are planning ahead.

When her South Carolina high school went online this spring, Maya Green struggled through the same emotions as many of her fellow seniors: She missed her friends. Her online assignments were too easy. She struggled to stay focused.

But Green, 18, also found herself working harder for the teachers who knew her well and cared about her. 

“My school doesn’t do a ton of lessons on social and emotional learning,” said Green, who just graduated from Charleston County School of the Arts, a magnet school, and is headed to Stanford University. “But I grew up in this creative writing program, and I’m really close to my teachers there, and we had at least one purposeful conversation about my emotions after we moved online.”

From the other teachers, Green didn’t hear much to support her mental health.

This was a common complaint among parents when classes went online in March to

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Teachers are not the public-sector workers who most deserve a pay rise

Children stop for a socially distanced lunch at St Alban's Catholic Primary School - David Rose
Children stop for a socially distanced lunch at St Alban’s Catholic Primary School – David Rose

SIR – My daughter has not been at school for more than four months.

The evidence points to school-age children being among those least at risk from coronavirus. However, children’s charities have seen a vast rise in the numbers making contact during the lockdown, which strongly suggests that theirchildren’s mental health is suffering as a result of not being in school. Meanwhile, the public and independent school sector has continued to provide a far higher standard of pupil engagement and education than the state sector.

While most many thousands of people have just got on with things over lockdown – and many have served the public above and beyond the call of duty – so II therefore find it astonishing that teachers across the land are to be granted pay rises of between 2.75

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Betsy DeVos just crossed another line. She’s an ongoing danger to teachers and students.

As much of the country experiences an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is carrying President Donald Trump’s water by demanding that states reopen their schools after the summer break. She makes this demand with no sense of how schools can do this safely. But just beneath her disregard for public health is a shocking ignorance about the fundamental nature of authority over public schools in this country. The secretary assumes she has that power and wants to run roughshod over those who do. In fact, shortly after making the demand, the governors of South Carolina, Iowa and Florida bowed to her assertion of authority, much to the dismay of educators in those states.

DeVos’ blanket demand that schools open is dangerous in its complete lack of consideration for student and teacher safety. She dismisses the risk of spreading COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff in school

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Teacher’s Final Lesson Is To Hold Family Close, Appreciate Life

PASCO COUNTY, FL — There’s one family photo that captures Renee Dermott’s effervescent spirit. It’s an unguarded moment during a family fall trip up north as she grabs up a pile of colorful fall leaves and tosses them into the air, laughing as the leaves rain down on her.

Her family said that photo exemplifies her love of life, a quality she brought to her career as a school teacher for nearly 20 years.

“She loved her kids. She loved her husband. She loved her home. She loved teaching,” said Madalyn Ziongas, one of Dermott’s two daughters. She was always the first to arrive at school and the last to leave, said the family now grappling with grief.

The 51-year-old New Port Richey resident had just begun teaching at Seven Springs Middle School last fall — first teaching English language arts and then American history — when the pandemic was

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Florida teachers union sues DeSantis, Corcoran over schools’ ‘reckless, unsafe reopening’

Florida’s top teachers’ union, joined by local educators — including one from Miami-Dade County — sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state education commissioner Monday to stop the “reckless and unsafe reopening of schools” this fall amid Florida’s surging COVID-19 cases.

The Florida Education Association was joined by plaintiffs who are educators in Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties in the suit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

The Miami-Dade plaintiff, Mindy Grimes-Festge, is the secretary/treasurer of the United Teachers of Dade. She and her husband, Don, have been educators for 28 years. They have a son, who is a rising high school senior with a compromised immune system and unable to return to school during the pandemic.

The lawsuit has gained traction, with the NAACP joining as a plaintiff in the suit, which names DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran as defendants. Corcoran has ordered the public schools to reopen.

“No

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Illinois Teachers Union Says School Year Should Start Online

WESTMONT, IL — The union representing teachers in Illinois called for the school year to begin with remote learning. A return to in-person instruction is currently too risky, according to the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

In a statement issued Monday, the statewide teachers union provided a list of 10 safety measures that every school district and college needs for its members to feel safe returning to the classroom. Too many schools cannot achieve “critical safety benchmarks,” it said.

“We arrived at this position by having talked to our members extensively about how do we do this,” Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery said in the statement. “Our primary concern is keeping everybody safe — not only our members, but our students, their families and their communities. At this point, our recommendation is that schools should return to online or remote learning for the beginning of the school year. It

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