Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Carol Swain to the studio and Caller Shelly.
During the third hour, caller Shelly disclosed what a teacher’s typical day looked like since the coronavirus has closed in-person learning in Nashville Public Schools. She revealed that teachers are not receiving pay cuts or raises, but appear to be working more hours with more responsibilities.
Leahy: The phones Carol are lighting up after our interview with Fran Bush, Metro Nashville Public Schools board member. Let’s play sports. On the line now, and we are very interested in what this caller has to say, Shelly, from Nashville, who works for Nashville Public Schools, wants to talk with us. Good morning, Shelly.
Caller Shelly: Good morning. How are you?
Leahy: We are delighted that you have taken the time to call us.
Shelly: Not a problem. (Inaudible talk) and Carol thought that Metro teachers are getting paid the same amount working fewer hours. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Leahy: Well good. Just a moment. To set this up.
Swain: I asked the question, and you corrected it.
Leahy: Before Shelly, tell us exactly, are you a teacher? What is your position?
Shelly: Actually I’m considered a school aid. I write up the curriculum. I do posters. I do more of the support areas.
Swain: So you actually know whether or not people are getting paid the same or not. Are you in a position to know?
Shelly: Yes. I am in a position to know. I am in a position to work with all the teachers in the building. So yes.
Leahy: Tell us what the pay structure is in the current pandemic.
Shelly: The pay, they have not had any pay cuts or raises to my knowledge.
Shelly: But the hours that they are working are a lot more than what they did with in-person learning.
Leahy: So Shelly, if you would in terms of point of fact then. Teachers are making exactly the same now as they were before the pandemic? Is that right?
Shelly: As far as I know, yes.
Swain: And they are working harder because they are learning new things? They have to learn to work online. So this is learning that we all have to do.
Shelly: It’s not just learning online. They have added more things within the structure of the teachers’ day. For example, Metro Schools is putting together a new program called The Navigator Program, where every child and every school needs to be called by a teacher every week.
Leahy: Let’s go back to the typical teacher’s time before the pandemic and after the pandemic at Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Shelly: Before the pandemic, usually teachers got in the building between 7 and 7:30 for an 8 o’clock start time. Then they were generally, most of the teachers unless there was a faculty meeting, would be cleared out by 3:30 with the children leaving at 3.
Leahy: Were there lesson plans after that typically, Shelly?
Shelly: Some of the lesson plans and grading. And entering things into the books would be usually in the evening and that kind of stuff. So that’s all still happening.
Leahy: So 7:30-3:30 there typically?
Shelly: Right. Plus evening time for lesson planning, grading, and all that kind of stuff.
Leahy: Tell us, if you would, Shelly, what the average Metro and other teachers here that are listening here, I’m sure who could advise on this. What is the typical teachers’ days like now?
Shelly: The typical teacher’s day most of the teachers are still going into the school building, because it’s just easier to have their manipulative in the classroom than to have them at home. So a lot of the teachers are still in the building between 7:15 and 7:30. At 8 o’clock the digital classes start.
And the digital classes sometimes they start with different meetings. They have depending on which grade they are. Kindergarten may be digitally for 45 minutes. They are trying to get them up to an hour. That’s a lot of screen time for a five-year-old.
Shelly: So what they call brain break. So we get up and dance and that kind of stuff. The older children are being on for an hour at a time. And then they switch classes. They go to their specials in between digital classes they have their meetings. They are calling children from Navigator. They are setting up IEP meetings all through Zoom.
Leahy: What’s an IEP meeting?
Shelly: Individual educational program for children that might have special accommodations made for school. They have their literacy. And we now have a new literacy component where they are meeting with a literacy counselor on an almost daily basis.
They’re still online and hooked in for the entire day. They do work a lunch hour in for them. Or not a lunch hour, a lunch 30 minutes. But a lot of times that’s now getting pulled up based on the students’ needs. Then the teacher foregoes their lunch.
Leahy: What time does their day end, Shelly?
Shelly: Well now that we have this Navigator thing when they go to bed at night.
Leahy: So they’ll go from 7:15 in the morning til 8 at night? Is that what you are saying?
Leahy: Let me ask you one last question, Shelly. In terms of the teachers and the students, we are hearing reports that virtual learning is an utter disaster from a number of folks. From your perspective, would you say virtual learning is an utter disaster? Or would you say it is not an utter disaster and why?
Shelly: I don’t think it’s an utter disaster. I think for kids it might be a really good thing for them. But I think it’s difficult to gauge at this point.
Leahy: Shelly, we are losing a little bit of quality on the audio. But would you call us back in a couple of weeks and tell us how things are going, please?
Leahy: Shelly, thanks for the call. Thank you, Shelly.
Listen to the third hour here:
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