I do not feel prepared for my kid's all-remote elementary learning this year. If I'm this stressed out, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be a teacher through all of this. Kindergarten sounds tough, but I feel like parents are willing to relax about shapes and colors, and second grade and beyond feels a little more independent. But first grade? It feels like there's a lot to learn in that second official year of school, and what first grade teachers want you to know this year can really help alleviate some fears.
I spoke to several first grade teachers, and their responses were just as thoughtful and insightful as you would expect from people who willingly spend their days with 30 6-year-olds. They have unmet patience and warmth, and it's obvious that they are as worried as parents are about all of this. With some schools opening up, they have additional layers of concern over their own health and the health of their families. Our government is asking a lot from a group of people who are historically underpaid, underfunded, and underprotected. Many of the teachers still don't have a solid idea of what the school year will look like, and we're just a few weeks out from the beginning of the year. Where I live in New York City, there are multiple options to choose from, and personally, I can't believe how much work these teachers are going to be expected to do. And don't forget, many of these teachers are parents themselves, figuring out how to educate their own children at the same time. It's a lot.
But if you're worried about them not giving your first grader their absolute all — don't be. They want your kids to succeed as much as you do, and they had a lot to say about this coming school year. (Some of the last names are unpublished for privacy.)