Education Spotlight: Learning in the age of coronavirus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's new segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

Read Landon's interview with Merced County Superintendent of Schools, Steve Tietjen below or watch it in the media player above.

Landon: First of all, how are you guys doing right now?

Steve: Well, we are getting through, you know. It's been a really tough year. I think schools have really done a great job at being resilient in a year that no one could have planned for. They're doing amazing things with kids.

Landon: So what kind of message do you have for parents? You know, maybe the parents that are kind of feeling a little bit exasperated right now. What kind of message do you have for them?

Steve: Well, really there are two messages. Number one: as a parent who's worn out, by having to carry the burden of parent/provider, keeping the roof over the heads of the family, but also now teacher part-time, it's about developing your sense of patience as an adult. I know it's easy for me to say, but as a grandparent, I'm spending a lot more time with my grandkids than you might expect and enjoying it, but also realizing that there's a burden that teachers carry from 8 am to 3 pm. That even I, as a former teacher, didn't really get because kids, perform differently with parents or grandparents than they do with teachers. You know it takes an incredible amount of patience on the parents' part right now to get through this really difficult year. The second thing I'd say to parents right now is that, you know, find a way to separate learning time from living time. From learning space from living space and really setting aside, a place in the house where kids can really focus on learning. And when they're in that spot, that's their focus.

Landon: There's an old saying that says, "hard times revealed true friends." What have these hard times revealed about our educators?

Steve: I think these hard times are revealed that there's a tremendous dedication to children and changing the lives of children in our public school system. You know, public schools are the foundation, in my view and most educators' view, of our democracy. And we really have to have an educated populace for democracy to work. And what I'm seeing right now is teachers are committed to making sure that every child has an opportunity. Most of us have at least one teacher during our school growing career that made a difference, that saw something in us, that caused us to be more motivated, to generate some enthusiasm for an area of life that we wanted to pursue. It gave us the confidence to do something, maybe we had never thought about doing. So, education, particularly public education, because it's targeted at all kids, our educational system doesn't just promote the academically talented. It promotes education for everyone.
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