Helping teachers who work in COVID-19’s shadow

During this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we are honored to support our teachers and their important relationships with students and families. 

City Connects Coordinators have always played a critical role in supporting teachers — and they are continuing this work in the face of COVID-19. 

Teachers tell us they often feel the indirect emotional burden of students’ problems, from hunger, anxiety, and depression to homelessness and family stress.

Coordinators help by assessing students’ needs and addressing them with customized in-school and out-of-school resources. This frees teachers to feel supported and enables them to focus on teaching. 

The positive impact that coordinators have on teachers was written up in a 2017 article by Boston College researchers — “The impact of comprehensive student support on teachers: Knowledge of the whole child, classroom practice, and Teacher Support” — and published in the journal Teaching and Teacher Education.

Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinators continue to play a critical role in supporting teachers who are working hard to both stay in touch with their students and manage life in quarantine, sometimes with their children of their own.

City Connects’ support is particularly important now when teachers are reporting high levels of stress and anxiety. 

Across City Connects schools, coordinators help teachers to contact hard-to-reach students, assess family needs, and connect students and families to services. That’s what’s happening in Minneapolis, Minn., and Springfield, Mass.

In Dayton, Ohio, when coordinators help teachers contact students by phone, they translate conversations. 

And in Salem, Mass., coordinators offer social-emotional support to teachers through virtual meetings.

“We strategize each week on ways that we can support teachers,” Ellen Wingard, Salem’s City Connects Program Manager says. “We try to provide resources and supports to teachers so we can understand what’s going on with them individually and also how what teachers are facing impacts their kids.”

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