Teacher's tearful selfie video reveals struggles of online teaching amid COVID-19

Emotional video from a teacher in Florida sparked conversations as she describes the challenges she faces with online teaching amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Terry Kinder, a seventh-grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Bellview, Fla., Taped September 10 as she sat in her car before class. She eventually shared the footage along with an open letter on Facebook in the hopes that her district would make changes regarding technological difficulties, standardized tests, and student workloads.
The children's story was soon shared by the local media and she received messages from other educators revealing their own problems with distance learning.
"I think I was at my breaking point," Kinder told Good Morning America. "I've never recorded myself upset. I didn't think I'd cry."
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"I feel like I'm letting my students down because I can't be there for them like in a classroom," she added.
PHOTO: Terry Kinder, a 7th grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Florida, taped herself Sept. 10 while she was in her car before class. She eventually shared the footage on Facebook in hopes that her district would make changes amid COVID-19. (Terry Children)
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Children has been teaching for six years. She said she volunteered to teach online because she believed she would excel at it.
However, kids quickly learned that it was harder than expected - making sure their class could record their lessons on computer screens. She also uses the same standardized pre-tests for all of her students, regardless of their learning model.
"When you talk to the children [who are studying online] there is no way to talk to them privately," she said. "It's difficult to drag a student into a separate meeting. It puts you on hold with the 30 other kids. In class, I just walk over. In a classroom, I can see if a student is stuck in second place for some Minutes. I can't see this online. "
Cheryl Lindstrom, the colleague of children, told "GMA" that she agrees with the message of children.
"My complaint is that safe online testing seems to be a contradiction," said Lindstrom, a sixth-ninth grade social studies teacher who teaches online every other day. "I don't know where they are doing the test, how many devices are open. My concern is how valid the data we collect through an online assessment is as it is not a controlled environment."
Kinder said their school closed the second week of March and implemented an e-learning model for the rest of the year due to COVID-19.
In the last week of August the children returned to personal study. Parents who choose distance learning must follow the same daily schedule as personal learners.
Kinder said she works in a Title 1 school where some of the children come from low-income households. Since the pandemic, counselors and social workers have tried to track down students who have not been seen or heard in school in a month.
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PHOTO: Terry Kinder, a 7th grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Florida, shared a photo in her classroom. Children stood up in hopes that their district would make changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Terry Children)
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For students who have returned, Kinder said that some are excellent at e-learning and some are not. She believes that online learning is not the same education that many children would receive in class.
"My students, a significant number of them fail and there are 80 students with an F of 150. Usually there are maybe four and that's the greatest number of failing students," said Kinder, adding that that statistic has improved .
In Kinder's Video, she highlights her frustrations with the Marion County Public School District's standardized online tests.
PHOTO: Terry Kinder, a 7th grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Florida, shared footage on Facebook in hopes that her district would make changes amid COVID-19. The children's classroom is shown in this undated photo. (Terry Children)
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Kinder said the ratings measure where students are academically at the start of the school year and at the end.
"A big problem with the first two weeks of school is that there were 187 students in attendance at that time and I had to see them all on Microsoft teams," Kinder said, adding that Microsoft teams wouldn't allow her to monitor whether all students had their cameras on. Now she's using zoom.
Children recently spoke to the school board and suggested possible solutions to technical problems faced by teachers and students. She said that a lot of class time is often spent troubleshooting.
PHOTO: Terry Kinder, a 7th grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Florida, taped in before class on Sept. 10. She shared the footage on Facebook in hopes that her district would make changes amid COVID-19. (Terry Children)
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Marion County's public schools said their district is assembling a technology task force to solve the issues children and others have raised. The district hopes to offer solutions that will "make online learning more productive and efficient for teachers, students and families," the district said.
"We invited Ms. Children to be part of this task force when she introduced herself to our school management members last month," the district told GMA. "Other members include more teachers, parents, students, technology workers, and others."
Kinder said she was glad positive action was taking place.
PHOTO: Terry Kinder, a 7th grade citizenship teacher at Bellview Middle School in Florida, taped herself Sept. 10 while she was in her car before class. She eventually shared the footage on Facebook in hopes that her district would make changes amid COVID-19. (Terry Children)
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"I don't want my [students] parents to think I don't want to teach online," she said. "I think the kids are excited that I am fighting for change and more support ... I am fighting [also] for change for teachers across the country."
Other changes kids would love to see include smaller class sizes, a re-examination of teacher ratings during the pandemic, and discounts from large internet companies for students whose families can't afford decent WiFi, she said.
Teacher's tearful selfie video reveals the issues of teaching online amid COVID-19, originally posted on goodmorningamerica.com

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