SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — Teachers in our schools are struggling to keep up with the demand of teaching in-person and online simultaneously.
“Right now, I have probably 65% who are face-to-face and then the other 35% who are remote,” said Makaya Moran, a speech pathologist at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota County.
“To get on with a three-year-old on zoom, it’s just difficult,” Moran said. “The reality is it’s a new normal right now and we are still figuring this out.”
The experience has been far from smooth for Moran and other teachers in the district like Brooke Walters, who teaches Spanish at Sarasota High School.
“Of course teaching is a difficult and challenging profession as it is and it’s exhausting but I have to say that doing both at the same time, having students in front of me and students remotely has posed so many challenges in terms of making sure students are engaged remotely as well as in the classroom,” Walters said.
And don’t get her started on the technical issue that comes along with it. She says her WiFi connection is constantly going out.
The school district tells 10 Tampa Bay they know teachers are having to take on a lot this year.
“They are going above and beyond to make sure everybody is getting the best possible education we can in this environment,” said Jody Dumas, chief operating officer for Sarasota County schools.
“We talk about it at the district all the time how teachers are doing things that we never thought possible. They are amazing,” Dumas said.
On day one of classes, the School Superintendent Dr. Bennen Asplen told 10 Tampa Bay the district has 400 substitutes at their disposal. He also said they were going to make sure schools were extra prepared.
“We did make a decision to hire at least one substitute for every school whether they needed that person or not,” Asplen said. “Our high schools, our bigger schools, have two whether they need it or not just so that they are there.”
He says the idea was to give the principal of each school a person they could place right away rather than calling around to find a substitute teacher.
But after talking with several teachers in the Sarasota County School District and obtaining a copy of an email sent to teachers as Sarasota High School, there are a shortage of teachers.
Teachers tell 10 Tampa Bay they are having to cover each other’s classes instead, making an already overwhelming experience that much more stressful.
We’ve reached out to the School District for comment and are waiting to hear back.
Hear from teachers tonight on 10 Tampa Bay at 5:00 p.m.