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Marquette University Law School senior fellow discusses the way the pandemic has changed teaching

Distance learning online education.
Shangarey Julia
Stock Adobe
Student participates in virtual learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic quickly shifted nearly every aspect of education. As lessons moved from classrooms to computer screens, students, parents, and teachers had to adjust.

The move to virtual schooling also highlighted inequities of access to resources, such as reliable internet, support at home, and the means to attend school virtually. But it perhaps was the most challenging for teachers, who faced an increasing and even overwhelming amount of responsibility.

Alan Borsuk is a senior fellow of law and public policy at Marquette University Law School and has reported about various education issues over two decades. He shares how teaching is changing as a result of the pandemic. He says teaching during this time has been challenging, at best.

"I think the key word to focus on is stress. It's a highly stressed occupation. I bet just about every teacher I've heard of, or that you've heard of, would tell you, they really have a lot of stress these days," Borsuk says.

Not only are teachers struggling with adapting to working during the pandemic, but they face mounting issues that pertain to their own personal health, high demands that go past the pandemic, and the politicizing of educational topics.

"People, teachers, everyone up and down the education framework, and parents and kids deserve an enormous amount of credit for flexibility — adaptability from making the best efforts," Borsuk says.

While it's been hard on the teaching end of things, the pandemic has also widened the education gap for students. Many students cite concerns of home support, getting better resources from schools, and better access.

"Unfortunately, I suspect the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Those who have the best resources and not even [talking] economically necessarily; those who are in the best position to move forward...those are the ones [students] who will do best," Brorsuk says.

Borsuk says that the number of people getting college-level education training doesn't meet the number of open teaching positions. On a positive note, he says that there wasn't a flood of teachers quitting at the end of last year like many expected.

"We need to make teaching a more attractive job in a really broad way and that’s something that’s frankly gotten probably less likely during the pandemic and not more likely," Borsuk says.

Audrey Nowakowski is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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