For teachers retiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, a bittersweet end: 'There's no closure without being able to say goodbye to my students'
For the roughly 1,600 Illinois public school teachers who are retiring this month, stepping away from the classroom in the midst of a global pandemic that shuttered schools is proving especially heartrending.With scuttled in-person goodbyes. and their final days as educators unfolding on computer screens in their home offices instead of in classrooms, teachers retiring at the end of this tumultuous school year leave their schools under conditions they never could have imagined when they began their careers decades ago.Here are the stories of four retiring Chicago-area teachers, whose combined ...
Balancing Act: This principal and his teachers traveled 400 miles to hand-deliver diplomas. 'It was absolutely a career highlight.'
Graduation day was fast approaching at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, a small private high school on the city’s Near North Side where students are invited to imagine a better world and then use their art to create it into existence.Jason Patera, the head of school, had his talking points ready for the Annual Dispensing of Unsolicited Advice (more about that in a moment). The teachers had written their toasts to the 30 graduating seniors — individual speeches that pay tribute to each student’s accomplishments and personality.Everything would be presented at the annual senior lunch, which wou...
'Everyone is overwhelmed.' A teacher struggles to engage her students via distant learning
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kimberli Heck counts the students she’s connected with online since distance learning began: seven students out of a class of 26, and 34 students out of a class of 36.The English and history teacher at Winston Churchill Middle School in Carmichael has been teaching her classes online since April 13, exactly one month after schools abruptly closed in March at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.“Some students treat this time like it’s summer, but there are also a lot of parents who are just overwhelmed,” Heck said. “Everyone is overwhelmed.”Distance learning has proven to...
The Sacramento Bee
Mike Bianchi: Magic coach Steve Clifford, once a special-ed teacher, still strives to help others
ORLANDO, Fla. — As a sports fan, one of the few bright spots during this global pandemic has been watching NBA teams, NFL franchises and so many others line up to help out wherever they can. In Central Florida, it’s been especially refreshing to see Magic ownership, players, coaches and even broadcasters do their part to help those in need in our community.The latest example came earlier this week when Magic coach Steve Clifford made a donation to the Heart of Florida United Way, which is offering financial help to those most affected during this trying time on our planet.Clifford’s donation w...
Retired teachers have a new gig: tutoring students for free while they're stuck at home during the pandemic
Before the coronavirus pandemic confined Barbara Sinclair to her Naperville, Ill., condo, the former public schoolteacher put her experience to use tutoring students in a GED class at a local college.When it became clear that activity would have to go on hiatus, the 84-year-old wondered how she would spend all her newfound free time.But her break from teaching would be brief. Along with more than 360 former educators, Sinclair has raised her hand to provide virtual tutoring sessions to kindergarten through 12th grade students during the school shutdown in a volunteer effort organized by the Il...
Teaching coronavirus: Some college professors have written it into their lesson plans
PHILADELPHIA — When Brian DeHaven learned that he would teach his virology class remotely for the rest of the semester, he asked students whether they wanted to continue the regular curriculum or focus on the pandemic.They chose the pandemic.“So the rest of the course, we will be talking about historical pandemics, and comparing them with this current one we’re in,” said DeHaven, an assistant professor at La Salle University.It wasn’t such a stretch, considering virology is the study of viruses.But professors in other fields from economics to environmental engineering to art, public health and...
The Philadelphia Inquirer