Astra Audio: Thoughtful Thanks to Our Pandemic Era Educators in Kansas

Audio Astra reviews recent audio reports on Kansas news, including podcasts and radio reports. Eric Thomas heads the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and teaches visual journalism and photojournalism at the University of Kansas.

Dear Kansas teachers and school staff:

This is a thank you note.

It has not been awarded. Or described in your program.

You don’t need to write it down. Or type comments into your electronic notebook.

You don’t need to check if it was submitted before the deadline. Or give me an extension because I wasn’t feeling inspired yet.

You don’t need to watch if I’m wearing a mask as I write this in your class. Or create a Zoom activity to keep me awake.

You don’t need to defend the novels we read earlier this week for their relevance. Or turn away parents who are wondering why an essay they helped their student write scored 88 rather than 98 out of 100.

Right now, you just deserve our gratitude. Our thanks go to the kindergarten teachers and high school caretakers, seasoned principals and front desk staff, college cafeteria employees, and first grade counselors. This is the crew that has been building up through the school since March 2020.

Many parents and community members have worked to derail your work. As you learn jiu-jitsu impossible to teach elementary school students through remote iPad screens, parents dissected your choice of words, criticized your patience, and guessed your home decor.

Other parents have pulled their students – often some of the wealthiest and most successful – from your public schools to enroll in private schools with less mask regulations. And what about the vicious timing of those parents tattooing any effort toward inclusiveness as a radical left-wing form of white guilt? Parents have often been brutal to you during those 20 ruthless months.

And yet you are working to improve our schools.

Many parents and community members have worked to derail your work. As you learn jiu-jitsu impossible to teach elementary school students through remote iPad screens, parents dissected your choice of words, criticized your patience, and guessed your home decor.

The “KSPrincipals Listen Up! »Of this week Podcast from the Kansas Principals Association introduces Turner Middle School principal Bill Weber and his “intentional” revisions to his school. Host Trevor Goertzen and Weber repeat the word “intentional” to indicate how the changes at Turner Middle School have focused, as we hope, on the students, rather than on what puts parents or teachers in the spotlight. easy. With that in mind, Weber added Focus Fridays, a program that provides a one-classroom learning environment for the entire school day on Friday. It is a noble and thoughtful response to the chaos of recent school life.

It’s also an incredible feat that Weber and his team can accomplish new projects during the school years rocked by the daily risks of COVID. Nonetheless, Weber and countless principals like him (maybe even you) made such “intentional” changes during the pandemic for the well-being of students.

Other recent podcasts remind us of the changing insecurity COVID has brought to your buildings, Kansas educators. The November 5 episode of the KCUR Daily Podcast “Kansas City Today” featured Frank Morris’s sweeping explanation of how cafeterias have scavenged food – and even food containers – in the face of recent supply chain nightmares.

In Morris’s same story, a food service manager from outside of Kansas describes the constant obstacles: “There’s just one endless pass we’re trying to make. You certainly know that phrase – “endlessly overcoming” – from your work in our schools during the pandemic.

And yet, you always stand up for our children.

Consider a recent incident at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park. His student publication, BVNWnews, reported how teachers at the school supported their students after a bathroom was vandalized with a racial slur. Just as you probably did with your fellow teachers on another issue, the teachers at this school showed compassion to the students. They shared class strategies on how to talk to students about race through a message to their fellow teachers. They were set to do so as they meet every Sunday on Zoom “to discuss race issues, and (read) books and listen to podcasts on how to end racism,” the editor reported. Megan Yates.

“Like all the other teachers here, I love the kids who go to school here,” English teacher Kyle Farrington told BVNWnews. “I want to teach in a building where students know they will be respected and cared for, and I want all of the staff to feel that too.”

We as parents and guardians hear this echo of teacher compassion when we ask our children, “What happened in school today?” Through interactions large and small, you are sending our children home stronger, smarter and happier. In the face of so much, you and your fellow teachers have been the right answer to an exam that continues to test us all.

Thank you indeed.

Yours,

Parents and Guardians of Kansas School Children

What did we miss? E-mail [email protected] to tell us about a Kansas-based audio program that would be of interest to Audio Astra players.

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