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This interview was conducted on March 24, 2021 remotely via Zoom. Lauren was calling in from her home in Brooklyn, NY. Lauren is an English Teacher for 9th-12th graders at Assembly Gateway School for Technology, which is a public school in New York City. Lauren talked about how a return to the classroom has been for her and her students. She shared that because she teaches mainly students of color, she feels a heightened responsibility to keep kids safe and to give accurate information on safety-- she doesn't want to be responsible for yet another lie in the educational system. She said she doesn't know how to feel about what's happening in the classroom physically or remotely. For the kids, they're excited to be back, but she said that she feels like it's almost like a punishment for them to be able to see their friends but not be able to hug or high five them even though they're right there. Lauren said that over the course of the pandemic, she has felt burned out and disillusioned, but that this feeling isn't new for her. She said that for anyone who has spent as much time as she has as a teacher in the New York public school system, they would have to have magic powers not to be. When asked about her feelings about going back to in-person, she said she doesn't feel ready to be in front of 35 kids all with different personalities and needs, running in the hallways, and worries about school shootings, and that all of that is going to be harder after remote learning. She said things were always hard, but that she never knew another way. At the same time, she doesn't want to be remote all the time.
Liam McBain is an associate producer for NPR's It's Been a Minute. He's also on a mission to read 100 books this year.
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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.