Some NYC student teachers feel left out of discussion about remote learning option

Some student teachers heading into the classroom this year say they have serious concerns about COVID-19 since there will be no remote option for city schools.

News 12 Staff

Aug 31, 2021, 1:00 AM

Updated 962 days ago

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Some student teachers heading into the classroom this year say they have serious concerns about COVID-19 since there will be no remote option for city schools.
The first day of school is just two weeks away, and the student teachers at Brooklyn College say their opinion was left out of the equation when it comes to a remote option. They say while their college classes are remote, the classes they’ll be teaching are in person.
"Student teachers don’t have any medical benefits, nor do they get any paid time leave— they don’t get paid for this," says Brooklyn College student Nasim Almuntaser.
Almuntaser, who is a student teacher, says he’s frustrated that there's no remote option for the school year.
“Student teachers didn’t have any voice, they were just thrown into this,” he says. “We’re gonna be working with students who have families at home, so we don’t know if they’ve gotten vaccinated.”
Still, Gov. Kathy Hochul mandated masks be worn by all students and teachers this upcoming school year. In addition, all teachers in New York City are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect staff and kids.
Many city parents, students and teachers have been pushing for the option to learn from home. Student teachers, who the next generation of teachers, and are both students and educators at the same time, find themselves at a crossroads with only a few days left until classes start.
“Not everyone is doing well with remote learning, some people are thriving in person,” says Brooklyn College student Adia Atherley. “I don’t want to mess with those people at all. I just want the option to do remote."
Atherley says teaching remotely is a skill she thinks teachers need now anyway.
"Teachers need to know how to use the technology that you already have,” she says.
No matter what, all student teachers will have to report to teach in person if they want to graduate.
"You have to make a certain amount of hours, and if I don’t make those hours, then potentially my graduation can be delayed and that’s absolutely not OK,” Almuntaser says.
The city told News 12 that the state Department of Education makes these decisions for student teachers attending state-run schools like Brooklyn College. News 12 reached out to the state department but has not heard back.

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