HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It’s the first week of in-person learning at Huntsville City schoools.
We have heard from district administrators and leaders about their back to schools plans but teachers are saying that the plans sound good on paper but that isn’t the reality. We spoke to several anonymous teachers who said they feel overwhelmed, overloaded, and could soon reach their breaking points.
“It’s really over whelming, its very heavy. Things aren’t working. It looks like they are working to the outside world,” said an anonymous teacher.
Teachers in Huntsville City School system are facing a workload like never before.
“What we’re doing now in secondary to accommodate both the HVA students and the kids in the classroom is about three times the workload, of what we’ve done in the past,” says another anonymous teacher.
Many left responsible to teach both in the school building and students enrolled in the Huntsville virtual academy.
“Huntsville City Schools said that the virtual academy students would have their own teachers and their own program and now we are responsible for them and the kids in the class room,” says an educator.
Some teachers feel that district leaders’ messages to media and parents paint a positive picture– that’s not always accurate.
“There are certain things like cleanliness of the buildings and the number of custodians we have, how the rooms are being sanitized. I’m worried that not all of that is being taken care of,” says a teacher.
Another concern, the lack of communication from the top down. With constant changing information, teachers say they feel like parents have lost trust in them.
“We can stop with the culture of mistrust between us and the community. We can begin to be very transparent and very honest and open and when we don’t know, say we don’t know,” says a teacher.
Ultimately, teachers say they are doing the best they can given the circumstances… But there seems to be no turning point in sight.
“I see teachers putting up a front and their smiling and their greeting their kids and cheering them on and encouraging them with the activities and things of that sort but when the door is closed at 3:30 and the kids left the building. heads down on the desk and teachers are crying,” says the teacher.
The Huntsville Education Association recently conducted a survey with questions specific to Huntsville City Schools’ plan to return students and educators to school buildings.
While 89 percent of participants believe Huntsville City Schools has not prepared employees or provided worksites with needed safety equipment and procedures, the majority also felt school leaders should have consulted school employees about their concerns.
The survey ran from September 1-4 and more than 1,000 HCS educators voiced their concerns. The survey was voluntary, anonymous, and open to all HCS employees.