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Jonathan Schuler is a third-grade teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary, a Title 1 Public Charter School in Richmond, CA. In this interview, Schuler talked about his 2021-2022 school year, his school's first year of in-person teaching since Spring 2020. He spoke about his frustrations with the state of teaching, from students not being academically prepared for their grade to teaching with glasses fogged up from wearing a mask all year. 3rd grade is reading comprehension, said Schuler, but what happens to students who do school online from March of first grade all through 2nd? Students don't know how to read. Schuler spoke about how he felt his school was more concerned with the safety of the students, desk six feet apart, masks, whips and plastic shields on desks, and didn't give much thought or preparation for how they would be academically prepared for 3rd grade. He also found students didn't just lose a year of academics but also a year of being social. He spoke of how kids acted like first graders, tattle-taling on each other. "That's a first-grade thing." He spoke of how second grade is usually when students get IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) for special services but "that's hard to see over a screen." Schuler spoke of an education gap that has been created by the pandemic. He thinks his 3rd graders will be affected for the foreseeable future.
Alex Vara was born in San Francisco but raised just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, California. She is a graduate of Hampshire College and a dual MFA Creative Writing (Fiction/Nonfiction) student at The New School in New York City. She’s a public speaking teacher and host of TNS After Hours, a reading series dedicated to The New School Writing Community. She writes about family and her place within it.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.