School Daze: The pandemic has burdened teachers like never before,

New York Magazine

Before the pandemic, the behavior of students in Dyonne Diggs’s high-school classroom was a “toss-up.” The high-school English teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, said that after her students spent most of last year in remote schooling, they returned changed. They’re anxious, even depressed. Some parents have told her their children have begun to cut themselves. Then there’s the aggression. “I’ve been called, by students, a fat B,” she said. “I’ve been charged at several times.”

“I feel like with the pandemic and students having been home for two years, raising themselves or helping with siblings, they feel grown,” she explained. At school, however, no one treats them like adults. “They have to take another role, and they just don’t know how to do that. And the principal is not going to suspend you, at this point, for anything as long as you’re in school. So there is no recourse to change that behavior.

As a result, Diggs — who is recovering from COVID-19 — is now rethinking her career. She’s been applying for community-college positions and for roles as an educational consultant, and is even thinking about going back to school for another master’s degree, this time in public history, not education. “I’m African American and I love my history, and to be able to learn more about history is just more thought-provoking and meaningful to me,” she explained.


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