Teachers Respond to COVID-19

The Corona Times – May 29, 2020

by Steve Gunter

Screenshot from a Zoom meeting with teachers

Mayland Community College Teachers in a Zoom meeting

Even though I have made my career in education and have seen teachers do amazing things every day, I am still astounded—yet not at all surprised—at the resourcefulness and compassion of teachers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Teachers nationwide are somehow building the plane while trying to fly it, finding ways to continue to teach students of all ages and all levels of need, and they are doing so from home, working to surmount obstacles presented by a situation that none of us had imagined just a few months ago.

I have friends and family who are public school teachers, and many of them have shared with me their efforts to keep students engaged and support them and their families through this unusual time. I work in a different area of education, providing support and leadership to the adult literacy department at Mayland Community College as they work to provide educational programming in literacy, high school equivalency, English as a Second Language, independent living skills, and employability skills to area adults. I am amazed every day at the compassionate efforts our instructors are making to keep students engaged and learning, and it inspires me to keep my eyes on our goals despite the obstacles presented by this historic situation.

Our instructors teach adults who are seeking to take the GED® tests or preparing for college, who are learning to read or improve their skills for work, who are learning English for the first time or who are building skills to live independently or be successful in the workplace. Since many of our students do not yet have a high school diploma, they often have jobs that do not pay well. Many are still working to overcome the same circumstances that prevented their success in traditional school—poverty, health and family crises, or a lack of support resources. Our students often juggle multiple jobs, financial challenges, and a lack of childcare or transportation in order to find a way to class and work toward their goals. Many students struggle with poor self-esteem—often tied to family trauma or a sense of failure in previous educational settings—and one of the greatest joys of our work is seeing them blossom and thrive in our classrooms. For some, they have let the fear of “trying again” get in the way and undermine their confidence. Yet, once they begin to experience success in class, they are overwhelmed with surprise and relief.

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About the Numbers

You will note a series of numbers contained in the blog. They document the spread of virus through confirmed cases by the federal Centers for Disease Control and by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These are the official totals provided by state and local government at the date of the post and do not include estimates or cases not confirmed by these agencies. This is our effort to provide an accurate gauge of confirmed virus spread as it continues during the pandemic.

26,488

Cases in North Carolina
5/29/20

859

Deaths in North Carolina
5/29/20

680

Current Hospitalizations
in North Carolina
5/29/20

2,784

Cases in Western North Carolina
5/29/20

12

Cases in Mitchell County
5/15/20

113

Deaths in
Western North Carolina
5/29/20

1,719,827

Cases in the United States
5/29/20

101,711

Deaths in the United States
5/29/20