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As I gear up to teach high school remotely this fall, many members of my community are demanding "robust" and "rigorous" curriculum with a live daily bell schedule. We have received the opportunity to train on a host of technologies. Conversations are centered around ensuring that students do not fall behind academically. For me, these topics are misguided. How can we teach students rigorous academics without first addressing their emotional well being and the state of their mental health? If we truly want students to learn this year, we need to first focus on who they are and what they need as humans. Only then can true learning occur. Numb, created by Liv McNeil - a 9th grade student in Canada, captures what many of our students are likely experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that global education systems can prioritize the mental well being of our students over "rigorous" and "robust" curriculum.

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This item was submitted on July 25, 2020 by Shanna Gagnon using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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