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Education

How Miami-Dade Teachers Are Learning To Balance Home Life With Online Classes

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Courtesy of Alexandra Chace
Fourth graders Luciano Molina, 10, left, and Lola Covey, 9, right, work together at a family home in Kendall while schools are closed because of the coronavirus. Covey's mother, Alexandra Chace, is a teacher at two Miami-Dade schools.

Alexandra Chace helped her students’ parents learn how to log on to their children’s online education portals. She worried, though, they might not be able to do it again once they got home.

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The first thing she posted on her classes’ online message board was a note asking families to let her know if they were okay or if they needed anything. She got one email from a parent. Then she posted an assignment. She said no one responded and no one turned it in.

Most parents of Chace’s 30 gifted students at two Miami-Dade County public schools don’t speak English, she said. She teaches at two elementary schools, one in Allapattah and one in Liberty City. She asked WLRN not to publish the names of the schools to protect her students’ privacy.

“I'm worried that this is going to deepen the divide between the students that have means and have parents that speak English and parents that can work with them on their assignments, and those that can’t,” Chace said.

Her own children are having a totally different experience, she said. They’re in touch with their teachers and completing assignments from home.

Chace is trying to help her students stay connected while helping her kids continue their education and taking care of herself, as she’s battling cancer. Her husband lost his job in theater production as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

She is one of thousands of Miami-Dade teachers who are dealing with their own personal challenges while working from home during this new normal.

Miami-Dade shifted to online learning faster than other districts in South Florida. Remote education started on March 16, before the district paused for its previously planned spring break. Digital classes will start up again Monday, March 30, and Miami-Dade will be joined in its new endeavor by the other three local districts: Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. 

Hear from Chace and two other Miami-Dade teachers about this transition in their own words: