A teacher on the struggles of this school year.
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Christopher Pinto is a high school math teacher at the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District outside of Houston. His school only decided to take on a hybrid model—both online and classroom education—less than a week before the fall semester started, even though it had gone fully remote in the spring. Thus, families got to choose between in-person learning and virtual, but teachers were expected to show up unless they had health issues. Pinto is immunocompromised—he has Type 1 diabetes—and applied to get a medical waiver so he could teach remotely, but he was denied. He still had some hope that the school’s hybrid approach would suit him better, since remote learning was so isolating, but it’s not normal at all.
On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Pinto about the hybrid learning experiment being tested all over the country, and why teachers feel so alienated right now. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Christopher Pinto: Day one was probably my worst first day just because I was trying to make the Zoom happen, I was trying to greet students without high-fives and fist-bumping. We only know what our eyebrows and eyes look like. So even though we’re partly in person, not really having that connection because we just we can only make eye contact.
During first period, which is 8:15 a.m. to 9 a.m., I have 15 students ...
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