California Educator

April/May 2020

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Page 6 of 51

" Your heart is slightly bigger than the average human heart, but that's because you're a teacher." T H E S E W O R D S B Y cartoonist and former chemistry teacher Aaron Bacall came to mind as I saw multiple examples of your big hearts these past weeks. From teacher caravans honking through neighborhoods to school workers making and distributing kids' meals to educators conducting class through video screens, it's been crystal clear that COVID-19 has not dimmed your passion for your students and their well-being. And while it's taken a global pandemic for society to realize how essential and invaluable you are, you've barely noticed the newfound respect and appreciation. You've been too busy hon- ing distance learning skills, calling kids and their parents and guardians to check in, and handing out Chromebooks — all while dealing with your own families and loved ones. "I'm trying to keep an upbeat demeanor, so they don't see I'm scared or nervous," says Jessica Pagan, in our story "We Are Here for Our Students" (page 14). "I'm sending hopeful messages to keep things as normal as possible, while knowing that this situa- tion is completely abnormal." e new normal, however, has exacerbated public education's endemic problems of inequity and inadequate resources. " We have great teachers creating great lesson plans, but if kids don't have access, it doesn't matter," says Reagan Duncan, referring to the fact that 20 percent of California's 6 million students do not have internet at home. Duncan was one of four CTA educators who spoke with Gov. Gavin Newsom and first partner Jenni- fer Siebel Newsom about challenges around distance learning ("Teachers and Governor 'Zoom' In on Education," page 18). COVID-19 has also amplified students' social and emotional needs, especially for vulnerable populations such as those with Leading by Heart special needs and immigrant and undocumented stu- dents. Many of the latter are already traumatized by experiences in countries they fled and now endure the threat of family separation and deportation, and often language and economic difficulties. "ey desperately need our help to receive an education, which is the right of any child," says Raul Gonzalez in "Crisis in Our Class- rooms" (page 24). "It is important to help them for their sake and also for the sake of our country. These children are our future." The leadership and positivity you provide as we all navigate a new environment are awe-inspiring. And with the Schools and Communities First initiative, which would reclaim $12 billion annually for our schools and public services, expected to qualify for the November ballot (page 33), the future is looking hopeful. High school teacher Minc Robinson Brooker summed up what educators do, by heart. "We're resilient. We're dedicated," she says. "We are here for our students." Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F A Digital Educator T H E C O R O N A V I R U S O U T B R E A K turned life upside down for everyone, CTA included. We have published this issue digitally and not in print because of many obstacles standing in the way of a successful and timely delivery. Please check out CTA's COVID-19 Resource Center, with links to best practices for distance teaching and learning, useful information for members, and more. And join the Facebook group "CTA Teaching, Learning and Life During COVID-19" to connect with colleagues and share tips and experiences. Educators at Highland Elementary in Seaside. 5 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0 E D I T O R ' S N O T E

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