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FunTimes Magazine

Educating the Next Generation During COVID-19

By Nana Ama Addo

Education is a tool that can be used to transcend one’s circumstances and reach higher heights. As a youth in Philadelphia, education was my ticket to success, and the work I put in, combined with school resources, helped me open up a whole new world. For many inner city Philadelphian youth, educative years are crucial parts of their foundation building, as it can be a catalyst for their achievement. In light of COVID-19, FunTimes celebrates the education sector by speaking to educators in the Philadelphia region to learn how they have reconciled with schooling during COVID-19. We learn from Eric Snipe, a teacher at Luis Munoz-Marin Elementary School, about his journey adapting to COVID as a middle school educator.

Eric Snipe is a fourth grade math and science teacher at Luis Munoz-Marin Elementary School in North Philadelphia. He is married with two children, and has an insatiable passion for educating the next generation. Snipe describes the ways COVID has impacted his work as an educator: “I have learned how to expect the unexpected. Partnering with my students and their family has really made this virtual learning possible with little stress.”

For Snipe, transitioning to digital teaching was difficult but rewarding. He says, “Shifting to strictly online instruction had its challenges. However, my students were always eager, ready to learn and excited to show me what they've accomplished on their own. This made the transition more fulfilling, and I believe the relationship between teaching and digital tools actually work well together.”

Although students’ access to digital tools has been a COVID exacerbated issue, Snipe and the school district took appropriate measures to make sure students had equal access. “I have very minor issues with my students having access. The systems I have in place were ready and designed to support my students. Also, because of the pandemic, the Philadelphia School District offered hot spots so that every student would have a better chance of logging in.”

Providing an optimistic outlook to the future of formal education, Snipe shares, “I hope to see middle and high school back in the school building post-COVID. However, after having to shift gears to remote learning, we now know that it is possible to teach successfully virtually.”

He believes that although education is an integral part of development, students and staff must be alive to embark on this journey. He warns against schools reopening prematurely. Saying, “My hope for next year is that if the schools are open, it will be the appropriate time, so that we are not putting our children, teachers and staff at risk.”

Nana Ama Addo is a writer, multimedia strategist, film director and storytelling artist. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from the College of Wooster, and has studied at the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Visit her storytelling brand at www.asieduasimprint.blog, and connect with her creative agency on Instagram: @chitheagency.