Vlog: Special Educators 2020

Teaching special ed. was always a challenge. Then came 2020: a pandemic, political implosions and a reckoning with systematic racism. Here, we are inviting fellow educators to tell us like it is – and what they envision it could be.

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Who: Educators (Focus: Special Educators in Public K-12)

Action: Email tonightatdawn@gmail.com with a 1-3 minute video response to the prompt.

What: With a focus on problems and solutions in education, share your experience as a teacher before and during 2020.

Your 1st Asynch task: (11/23/2020) Start with the basics. What do you miss – what don’t you miss – about being in the physical classroom?

Video release: By submitting a video to Tonight at Dawn Media, you are giving permission for us to publish it on our vlog and social media sites (e.g. FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter). If there a narrative “emerges” from this project, we may want to use your video in a full length or short film. Unless you state otherwise with your submission, we also reserve the right to include your video in the film.

Questions? Ideas? Please email us at tonightatdawn@gmail.com or contact us here.

Producers: Kimberly Cecchini & …

Director’s Statement:

We have been teaching special education for a couple of decades each, and for all the new initiatives and lingo that rolls in and out each September, it feels like we are still working on the same factory line;  the conveyor belt keeps speeding up, data is crunched, but there’s no time for quality control. An educated populace is the foundation of building a democratic and just society, but education is undervalued and stagnant. 

Just like in all other sectors of society, 2020 has forced a seismic shift in our schools and exposed the deep pervasiveness of inequities. 

A vaccine will hopefully inoculate us from COVID-19, but it won’t cure the ills of our systems. So, when we again pack students into rows of desks, will we revert back to the factory floor or will we evolve education to meet 21st Century challenges? 

Through prompts, this vlog (and maybe one day, film), will share voices of special educators from across the United States about not just the good and the bad about teaching through a pandemic, but what we envision could change education – and new generations – to create a stronger, more equitable nation. 

And, given the years of encore performances in the classroom, I know that the story of teaching special education will be told through tears, laughter, and some colorful language. 

Feeling like a fugitive in my own classroom (retrieving supplies to teach from home).

Transcript of Introduction Video (Kimberly Cecchini):

I never liked being on this side of the camera, but hey it’s 2020. We have a pandemic that forces us behind screens. We also have a reckoning with racism and a strange as hell election season. 

In the wild west of virtual learning, we also have expanded our audiences as teachers. We are now performing for students’ families and our own. 

First, lord only knows what crazy stuff comes out of mouth when I’m trying to keep students in it. 

But not for nothing, between hearing me teach and Eddie B’s comedy videos, my partner does have a greater appreciation for what we do.

But when the protests die down, we remove our masks, and crowd back into classrooms, are we going to return to the factory floor where our students sit down in rows while we crank out the curriculum?

Or can we recreate schools as grounds to grow and inspire a more diverse array of global citizens? 

Let’s start a conversation. Let’s talk about the intersection of inequality, schools, and the status quo. Let’s rant, laugh, and explore the possibilities on a crowd sourced vlog. And let’s make it part brainstorm and part catharsis. 

Fellow teachers – especially special ed. Teachers, here is your 1st asynch assignment: please email us a 1-3 minute video response to the prompt below. For more information, including a director’s statement and more details, please visit tonightatdawn.com

Whatever you share, please be yourself. And please protect the privacy of our students and colleagues. 

Be well. 

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