Elementary teachers find some positives during the first week of school


Elementary school teachers are giving both positive and negative reviews after the first full week of in-person learning.

After an extended period of time teaching remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many teachers are finally back in the classroom with students across Windsor-Essex.

Mario Spagnuolo is the president of the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.

He canvased his membership before appearing on AM800's Live and Local over the weekend.

Spagnuolo says at least one teacher was shocked by the result of an assignment ranking their favourite activity.

"She said it was the first time in her career that has happened where kids actually put school as their number one fun activity," he continued. "When kids had to be home for that long of a period in Ontario into the summer, not being with their teachers and their classmates, it speaks to the value of it."

He says some members are glad they can give parents a break from pulling double duty.

"Thrown at them at the last minute and they had to pivot, and then having to help students get through this from a psychological point of view and an academic point of view when they were online," Spagnuolo said.

"She wanted to give a shout out to all adults who have made the transition back to in person a successful as it can be because it's been a challenge."

There is still some added stress while trying to keep kids safe, according to Spagnuolo.

"Teachers are trying to remind students to put masks on and to keep them on and pull them up over their nose. For the most part kids are doing a great job doing that, but with the summer and being outdoors and not needing a mask and now being indoors the whole day, it's tough on our kids," he said.

Spagnuolo says feedback from teachers has been encouraging, but a lack of funding for proper precautions from the province is casting a cloud of uncertainty this fall.