At first, Marie Wilkins-Walker was just happy to be back in a classroom. Wilkins-Walker teaches career and technical education at West Philadelphia High School, where she has worked for a decade. Her classes focus on computer systems networking; students earn certificates for jobs in fields like IT while also providing tech support to the high school.

Much as she loves technology, Wilkins-Walker said, “I have never wanted to be an online teacher.”

Last school year she taught to a Chromebook, filled with dark squares where kids’ faces ought to have been. “I often spent the evenings wondering whether I am showing up with my best,” recalled Wilkins-Walker, who sometimes worked alongside her 12-year-old grandson who’d come to live with her during the pandemic. “I think my answer was ‘no’ most of the time.”

Read the full article about student dropout rates after COVID-19 by Caroline Preston at The Hechinger Report.