In mid-March of 2020, students across the nation were sent home from school due to the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing teachers to pivot their curriculum to an online format in a matter of days. This was not an easy, simple change, particularly for those who had been refining their curriculum year after year. As we near 2022 and people slowly return to school, here are two major misconceptions about post-pandemic learning environments across the United States.
Myth One: Schools equip classrooms with all teaching essentials.
When a parent walks into a classroom, they may admire the reading nook, wall décor, or a computer cart sitting idle in the corner of the room. But rarely do they consider how it was all paid for. The reality is that teachers are facing the daunting task of inventing virtual and hybrid curriculum amid budget cuts and a lack of funding for basic classroom necessities. After an entire year outside the classroom, school supplies, textbooks, and technology are out-of-date and in need of a refresh. Many teachers pay for these types of things out-of-pocket, however nowadays most educators do not have extra cash for these items.
T-Mobile is stepping up to help, offering deals to jumpstart the new school year and ensure everyone has an easier transition back to in-person learning. First off, teachers deserve affordable phones so they can easily reach parents and discuss curriculum with their coworkers. So, T-Mobile is offering an iPhone 12 on Us and to make sure teachers, students, and families stay connected. In addition, T-Mobile is donating $1 million dollars to DonorsChoose, an organization that helps public school teachers purchase the supplies students need to succeed. With DonorsChoose, teachers can request various classroom supplies to meet their students’ needs. Then DonorsChoose purchases and ships the items directly to the school. Donors can look forward to a thank you note and photos of their donation.
Charles Best, Founder of DonorsChoose, notes that “this coming school year might be the most important of our generation, and teachers will need all the encouragement we can give them as so many returns to classrooms. T-Mobile’s gift to teachers will help students start the year strong and support them during a time of readjustment.”
Myth Two: Educators will return to pre-pandemic teaching methods.
Gone are the days of thick workbooks and heavy textbooks. Whether we like it or not, online learning resources have become the norm and that means personal computers are an education staple. Students without access to the internet or to mobile devices will be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to connecting with their teacher and doing schoolwork at home. With the rise of Covid-19 Delta variant cases and the lack of vaccinated individuals in some states, teachers will have to be prepared to virtually accommodate students in a moment’s notice and will rely on families having internet and wireless connectivity in their homes. In an effort to expand wireless connectivity across the country, T-Mobile announced the continuation of Project 10Million – a $10.7 billion initiative to provide 10 million underserved households with free internet and mobile hotspots over the next 10 years.
“Back to school is special this year” acknowledges Jon Freier, EVP of T-Mobile’s Consumer Group. “It represents getting back to so much more that we’ve missed after a really trying year for families, teachers and students. That’s why T-Mobile is going big here to help everyone stay connected with America’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network.”
Every classroom across the United States will look different this fall. Some courses may continue to be entirely virtual. It’s important that we recognize the need for home internet in every household and supplies in every classroom to ensure educational equity. Whether families choose to navigate post-pandemic learning in person or virtually, T-Mobile is doing their part in helping them stay connected and equipped with the essentials they need.