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    The outstanding debts of Latin America with teachers after the pandemic | Future America | The USA Print

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    Remembering the days of the pandemic when the confinement was stricter, for many brings a similar image: taking turns between working sitting in front of a screen and spending time cooking, washing and cleaning. But for the teachers of schools in Latin America, the region of the world that remained with schools closed for the longest time, added to this routine was greater pressure: taking care of the education and well-being of 20, 30 or more children or girls when many times they couldn’t even see them. Having to invent tools to teach virtually, by text messages or WhatsApp, despite the fact that a large percentage of teachers had never received training for it and not all of their students could connect to the internet.

    “These were not really distance classes, but an emergency pedagogy,” is how Ilich Silva Peña, doctor of Educational Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and who has dedicated part of his research to teacher training, summarizes the panorama. . “The teachers had to try to solve what the State could not, invent their own educational policies and we have not worried to this day to understand them as people who also suffered with the confinement,” he says.

    After carrying out two studies together with his colleagues, one with 16 teachers from Chile and published in EducationScienceand the other with six basic education teachers in Honduras and disclosed in the International Journal of Educational Research, the team found that, among teachers, the pandemic exacerbated several gaps, while others became visible. In addition to the almost improvised adaptation of the technologies that the schools gave them, they had to prioritize academic flexibility and support for their students over administrative tasks and even their personal lives. However, in general, they did not make them participate in decision-making in the schools, nor did they give them greater support from the directives. In addition, like a large percentage of the population, their work days were extended.

    “We have to provide students with emotional support. Even on Sundays three or four students call me crying. They have problems, they are distressed”, was one of the testimonies given by a Chilean teacher. “I have two parents whose son is only in second grade with me, and they don’t know how to read or write,” one of the teachers from Honduras also pointed out.

    A teacher reviews an evaluation guide as students take an exam to enter high school, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on August 10, 2020.
    A teacher reviews an evaluation guide as students take an exam to enter high school, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on August 10, 2020.JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (Reuters)

    For Daniela Trucco, Senior Social Affairs Officer of the Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in addition to the crisis, the disruption of schools due to the pandemic revealed a lucky paradox. “Since before covid-19, the areas in which teachers asked for more training were always, precisely, digital technology and socio-emotional support,” she says. During the pandemic – and even now, after months of returning to face-to-face classes – there are clear signs that it is a pending lawsuit. Especially the last one.

    “In the region we have experienced the greatest educational crisis of the last 100 years. The impact has been so serious that post-pandemic recovery cannot mean going back to the same thing,” says Claudia Uribe, director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this sense, it calls on the countries to “renew their efforts to have an adequate number of qualified teachers, with access to quality initial training and continuous professional development, with adequate contracts and remuneration, in addition to recognizing their autonomy, leadership and capacity for innovation widely deployed during school closures.”

    According to a series of surveys conducted by the Brazilian Peninsula Institute to around 2.2 million teachers in March 2020, —after two weeks of the suspension of face-to-face classes— and in May, August and November of the same year, their mental health began to come into play. While for May only 35% of the group surveyed said they felt tired, for November the figure rose to 57%. A similar trajectory was experienced with the feeling of overload, which went from 35% to 58% for the same months. As for the question of whether they felt happy, the figure never took off much: only 8% answered yes in May and 7% reported the same for November.

    “Everywhere it is said that teachers are superheroes,” says Elisa Guerra, professor and founder of Colegio Valle de Philadelphia, in Mexico, and part of the UNESCO International Commission on the Future of Education. “But let’s not get confused. We are human and when people hang this superheroine sign on us and you know that inside you are falling apart, that sign becomes heavier, ”she adds. For Guerra, moreover, the greatest burden has been experienced by the teachers, the female teachers.

    To the tasks of taking care of the home and the children -if they have-, that of taking care of the students is added. An idea shared by the Chilean Silva, assuring that the gap that was most visible and sharpened was that of gender. “Because of the same patriarchal system that assumes that women should do most of the housework and care, the issue for the teachers was more complicated,” he explains. For this reason, he proposes that the most important step that must be taken now that the schools have opened is to protect them, to take care of them as people.

    The challenges of teachers with the return to class in Latin America

    The teacher Guerra believes that “just as rivers have memory, it would seem that schools too”. Despite the fact that during the confinement it was said that it was a time to transform education, there is a feeling that inertia is leading schools and teachers to repeat the same thing. She, for example, is concerned that with older boys and girls, as well as with adolescents, a lot of pressure is being generated so that they recover the content that they did not see properly during those almost two years. “Is it really that bad that they didn’t see one or two units out of the five social sciences? Have they not acquired another type of learning during the pandemic? Because it worries me that under this argument of recovering and filling the gaps that were left, tension is generated on the teachers, leading to curricular overload”, she comments.

    A primary school teacher gives a class during the covid-19 pandemic, in Argentina, on May 6, 2021.
    A primary school teacher gives a class during the covid-19 pandemic, in Argentina, on May 6, 2021.Drazen_ (Getty Images)

    The key, he adds, is that education for the elderly concentrates on study techniques, self-learning and how to manage time. As for the boys and girls who lived through the pandemic during key ages, such as learning to read, he explains that, on the other hand, it is urgent to fill that gap.

    Achieving it, of course, implies that teachers and professors are well. This is why Silva says that in the educational sector, before launching to go back to study, you have to have a pending conversation. “We have not talked about fear and sadness. About how to go back to class after two years in which corporality did not exist, either, ”she says. Among the various pending issues that education in Latin America has, there seems to be a key one, and it is the same one that teachers asked for even before the pandemic: socio-emotional training.

    #outstanding #debts #Latin #America #teachers #pandemic #Future #America

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