Diane Collier, Associate Professor of Educational Studies at Brock University, and Anne Burke, Professor of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about a focus group they held with teachers to discuss their roles as educators and the challenges of teaching during a pandemic.
“Anxieties among Canadian teachers are heightened. Confronted with rising second wave COVID-19 cases, some provinces extended holiday school closures. Meanwhile, many teachers have had to put aside concerns about their own health and safety with in-person learning.
In Canada, teachers aren’t currently among the first in line to be vaccinated. The Canadian Federation of Teachers has been calling for teachers to be considered front-line workers and given priority for vaccination, citing concerns with poor ventilation and insufficient physical distancing, among other issues.
Teachers have been in a constant state of unease since schools closed in March. With little in the way of preparation or training, they were called upon to move their classrooms and teaching online. Alongside this growing unease, they had to adjust their home spaces. Some had to teach online alongside supporting their own children’s participation in virtual classrooms.
This past school term, we held focus group discussions with 20 teachers in one of the Atlantic provinces to ask how teachers felt about their roles as educators and about the teaching challenges in a pandemic. This was part of a larger research project in collaboration with teachers and researchers in Canada, Finland and the United Kingdom that promotes children’s voices and digital storytelling.”
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