I refused to let COVID-19 halt my students’ education

Jun 29, 2020 by

Education cannot stop, not when you’re dealing with the most vulnerable population of students in our community, Okamoto writes

woke up on March 13, not knowing  that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had closed schools across the state the night before. Not knowing this would be my last day in a traditional school building for the rest of the school year.

However, I did wake up with hope that education can transform entire families’ lives. I did wake up determined to make my students laugh and enjoy school. I did wake up with optimism that my tireless lesson preparation, accommodations for English language learners and unpaid overtime is a worthy investment into the future of my students who come from marginalized and disadvantaged minority communities.

And above all — like all of my colleagues — I woke up with a determination that even in the midst of a pandemic, education cannot stop. Not when you’re dealing with the most vulnerable population of students in our community. They couldn’t afford to lose one day of learning, much less three months.

I teach social studies at Bridge Academy West, a public charter middle school in Detroit that primarily serves the Middle Eastern community in and around Hamtramck and Detroit. Most of my students are first- and second-generation immigrants, mostly from Yemen and Bangladesh.

Almost all of our students live in poverty, most come from working class families, and 20-30% of our students are English language learners. Every day, my colleagues and I fight for our students to meet and exceed the academic standards put in front of us.

Source: Opinion: I refused to let COVID-19 halt my students’ education

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