Pandemic toll on teachers, A&M Central Texas is training the next generation of educators


The combination of in-person, hybrid, and distance learning styles in addition to navigating a pandemic has taken its toll on some teachers. Some choose to leave the profession altogether.

Ovidia Molina, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, said, “Our teachers and educators in all districts are feeling the pressure.

The lack of planning surrounding COVID-19 is what drives educators out the door, according to Molina.

“It’s the frustration that we have no plan for our schools, really, to keep us safe, and for our educators who do so much for our communities,” Molina said. “If we had a plan from the state, from the Texas Education Agency to get us back safely and make sure we stay in school safely, it would be different, but it looks like we’re having a reactionary event, not even a plan. We just react to what’s going on in our schools instead of having a plan. “

Molina said the impact COVID-19 has left on education is as clear as day.

“We are losing teachers, we are losing bus drivers, we are losing replacements, you know, we are losing [and] every job as an educator has an impact, ”said Molina. “We are all important and this is what the community, our state must show. It’s respecting all the work we do. “

As a retired principal, Jamie Blassingame, director of field experiences and external partnerships at A&M Central Texas, said: “It was a lot, I mean again, the learning curve. , especially for teachers who are approaching retirement age to learn new technologies very quickly. I think there was a quirk that came with that. “

Blassingame works directly with continuing students who are currently working as interns in classrooms. She works with Dr. Shelley Harris, Curriculum and Teaching Professor at A&M Central Texas, to teach the next generation of teachers how to navigate this new world of teaching.

Harris said, “We had to change our teaching methods and strategies to incorporate more technology and to really show in teaching how lessons can be online, how activities can be online, and build that community in. online, and really work with teachers to find out that they maybe do both in the classroom. It involves time management and really just learning the nuances of teaching face-to-face as well as virtually. “

Harris and Blassingame face new challenges of teaching firsthand, but still hope to inspire the next generation of educators.

“I think those who are just getting into the profession, those who are thinking about the profession, those who are halfway through the program, are sticking with it, you’re here for a reason. It’s about meeting the needs of our students, they can look a little bit different, ”said Harris.

Blassingame said, “We have upcoming teachers who will hopefully fill this void and continue to support the teaching profession.”

Harris said their program is growing, so she is hopeful.

“We are really delighted with this. We invite people in our surrounding areas and across the state to visit our website to call us. We have wonderful programs and great teachers who are here to make a difference. We want to be the difference in the lives of our students and in turn make a difference in the students they meet as well, ”said Harris.


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