Kids are okay and more resilient than adults: LA teachers on another semester of remote learning

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Third grade teacher Kristie Collette understands parents’ desires for their kids to return to physical classrooms. However, she says, “The kids are not going to be able to do simple things like use the classroom library. They’re not going to be able to play with PE equipment.” Photo by Amy Ta.

As COVID-19 cases in Southern California continue to surge, Los Angeles Unified schools will continue remote learning into 2021. The LA Unified School District and the union representing teachers recently reached an agreement to boost office hours and instruction on Mondays.

Two teachers who’ve regularly updated Greater LA with their pandemic experiences are back today. They reflect on this latest semester of online teaching. 

Kristie Collette, a third grade teacher at Newcastle Elementary in Reseda, says distance learning has been going well. “My students are definitely succeeding very well in what we’re asking of them.”

Hamilton High School teacher Aviva Alvarez-Zakson agrees, but she says not all students at her school are keeping up with the curriculum. “In a large urban campus that’s also extremely economically diverse, it really shifts depending on the demographics of students you’re talking about.”

Both teachers say they understand parents who want their kids to return to the classroom, but those parents may not be aware of how different schools will look for quite some time. 

Collette says, “The kids are not going to be able to do simple things like use the classroom library. They’re not going to be able to play with PE equipment.” 

Alvarez-Zakson says the model for high school students basically looks like distance learning but in the classroom together.

Despite the tumultuous school year, Colette reassures, “The kids are okay. They’re much more resilient than the adults are.”


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