With the likelihood of schools being closed for the rest of the school year, teachers from the San Diego Unified School District were allowed to go back to their classrooms Friday to pick up their teaching materials to bring home. The district is preparing for the transition to distance learning to begin on April 6, when spring break is over.
At Sherman Elementary School in Sherman Heights, each of the school’s 40 teachers was given a specific time to come to the school. Principal Nicole Enrique allowed six teachers at a time to go to their classrooms for 20 minutes.
“I’m like, 'I’ve got to grab this, I’ve got to grab more stuff.' I’m 'Oh! This kid needs this, this kid needs that,' to try to hopefully get everything online with them,” Christie Talbot who teaches special education said.
She also said she wishes she could hug her fellow teachers.
“But I can’t.”
Being away from her students is the hardest part.
“I miss them so much. I spend every day with them. We’re really close, I’m like a mom to them,” Talbot said.
Fifth grade teacher, Lito De Las Reyes and his wife Esperanza Villa Nueva are both teachers at Sherman Elementary. They packed what they called a "double load" into their vehicle.
De Las Reyes said he is the "big nerd at the school," so he packed up a plastic hammer like the Superhero Thor's. He said students pass it around in class when taking turns.
"I brought stuff home that students are used to seeing in class, so when I'm teaching, I'll just hold it ...make the kids laugh a little bit," De las Reyes said.
He also brought home a pen that he uses to keep students calm. When asked about his students, he said, "I miss seeing them every day."
Talbot said she does not know how distance learning is going to look yet. She knows the district is going to make sure students and teachers have computers and internet access, but she worries about the circumstances of many of the students at Sherman.
Some are homeless and live in tent city, Talbot said, many are from low socio-economic backgrounds. She worries they don't have books or play dough, or games that will help to learn. She worries there is not enough support at home to make distance learning successful. She worries about children with special needs, who work best with their hands, "seeing it, touching it, feeling it."
Talbot said she "will do her best, figure it out," and said she is thinking about ordering play dough and games online, and paying for the supplies herself.
She became emotional saying, " I just feel there is strife everywhere and I know if it's affecting me this way, and I'm really struggling then the kids are really affected."