Online CBE teacher wonders why he has to work in schools
A teacher at the Calgary Board of Education’s Hub online school says her day-to-day working conditions inside her school add to the already stressful job of teaching virtually.
The elementary school teacher, whom CBC News agreed not to name because she fears professional retaliation, said she and other Hub teachers are, for the most part, still required to travel to their schools for work .
“What we thought we were doing was working in our own classrooms. But in the end, we were placed in smaller classrooms closer to each other,” she said.
Since school started, she says, she has been sharing a room with two other Hub teachers using cardboard folds to keep apart.
“It’s like a room that has no windows where we’re all crammed together, three of us in one space, and we’re trying to teach at the same time. It’s been difficult,” she said. declared.
Meanwhile, there are empty classrooms in his building.
“I just feel like sometimes we’re extra bodies in a school,” she said. “I can work one day at home and the rest of the days I’m at school.”
No one from the CBE has been made available for interview, but in an emailed statement, the council said it could not say which physical spaces Hub teachers work from, as this is specific to the school to which the Hub classes are attached.
“School staff continue to adhere to all health measures, including wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing,” he said.
“Our schools are safe. Despite the number of positive cases in our communities, school transmission continues to be low.”
The CBE said managers are encouraged to reduce or eliminate as many face-to-face interactions between staff members as possible, including ensuring that all staff meetings are virtual.
“Staff are urged to follow all health protocols to continue to reduce the risk of transmission. Given that most students are not currently onsite at many of our schools, this should help ensure that staff can maintaining physical distancing at work.”
Additionally, the CBE said all school staff, not just Hub teachers, were working from school.
“Having school staff work in schools helps ensure continuity of learning, access to other colleagues, IT and administrative support, and seamless coverage of teaching schedules,” he said. -he declares. “All schools are open and all health measures are still in place. We want to make sure families have the opportunity to request appointments or get in-person support.”
The teacher said she was only allowed to work from home one day a week after explaining to her supervisor that it improved her mental health and her work.
She said the irony of the situation is that while parents are enrolling their children in the Hub to prevent them from being exposed to COVID-19, one of the teachers she shares an office space with a job without knowing it, while being positive – forcing the three teachers into quarantine.
“At first, when I thought I had been placed on Hub, I thought, ‘one of the benefits would be that I won’t have the same exposure as the teacher in the class.’ Yeah, that’s definitely a thought that crossed my mind,” she said. “And then when it was ‘you work at school,’ I thought, ‘oh, well, it’s inevitable that I’m going to self-isolate because of the rate of school cases that are happening in our city. .'”
And when she had to self-isolate, she said, working from home was a breath of fresh air.
“When you really only have to focus on yourself, the rest of the vibrational stress from the school environment that you feel doesn’t attach to you in the same way,” she said. “You can just think about your class and your needs and your space and a bit more about your own surroundings. It’s quieter, more comfortable.”
I just feel like sometimes we’re extra bodies in a school. We are used for supervision and for creating online content for teachers in the classroom.– Hub teacher working at the school
The CBE said most Hub teachers worked in schools, as many collaborated with other Hub teachers within the school and also contributed to school supports such as student supervision, meetings team and professional development, which require them to be in the building.
But, according to the teacher, in her experience, collaboration with other Hub teachers is done online anyway.
“If you think of our lives at Hub, [there is] basically one teacher per class, you’re the only one. If you collaborate, you collaborate with teachers who are not from the school in which you are. You might be collaborating with people on Zoom or online,” she said.
“I just feel like sometimes we’re extra bodies in a school. We’re used for supervision and creating online content for teachers in the classroom, which I’m more than happy to help them with. do, as they also have their own challenges in trying to deliver material online to children who cannot be in school.”
The CBE said Hub teachers who have been approved for medical or family housing have been working from home since the start of the school year.
“If individual circumstances change, the process for reviewing and approving accommodation requests remains available,” he said.
If a Hub teacher working in a school has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been identified as needing to self-isolate but still feels well enough to work, the CBE said they can work from home.
The teacher said she would like to see more flexibility from Hub teachers working from home.
“What would help is if we had more options to work…instead of one day at home, maybe about 50% of the time at home,” she said.
“There are times when we need to be there, with our staff, and that makes perfect sense, but I just don’t believe we necessarily need to be there Monday to Friday.”
Calgary Catholic School District Chief Superintendent Bryan Szumlas said his online staff also continued to work in schools.
“That’s our message to not only our teaching staff, but our support staff as well,” he said.
“The rationale for this decision is…#1, all of our schools remain open…the second point is that all of our schools are safe. There has been very limited transmission related to the spread of COVID in our schools.”
Szumlas said having staff in schools also ensures continuity of learning.
“When we think back to March and June, we had many staff who struggled to access the internet, and it also costs money for internet access. It can be provided for free in our schools “, did he declare.
“We have our administrators in our schools as well as IT support to help our teachers work in an online environment, and we also have transparent teaching schedule coverage.”
Szumlas said the Catholic district has learned it can keep schools safe.
“Our teachers are going to work in their classrooms without students in the classroom,” he said. “They’re pretty much safe if they’re isolated in their classrooms to do this work with maybe one or two support staff coming in to see them.”
In an emailed statement, Alberta Education said local school authorities, as employers, are responsible for decisions about staff who continue to work at school or work from home.
“The decisions and approach of school authorities must continue to respect occupational health and safety as well as provincial health measures,” said acting press secretary Nicole Sparrow.