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Season 3, Episode 95

Teachers persevered through the pandemic through creative innovation

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Guest Name:


Shari Obrenski

Guest Website:


http://www.ctu279.org/

Guest Social Media:


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Supportive Documents:


Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed how Cleveland teachers persevered through the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges they continue to face and why more needs to be done to help teachers succeed in these challenging times.

Obrenski explained how she first became President of the Cleveland Teachers Union when schools closed in March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. She said one challenge teachers faced was a lack of technology for the 2019-2020 school year. Obrenski credited Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon, who ramped up the use of technology so teachers and students were able to do remote learning during the next school year. 

Fortunately, the administration chose to work hand-in-hand with the union in following COVID-19 protocols, Obrenski said. As a result, CMSD did not see much labor turmoil and was able to set a model for how large school districts could work together through challenging times, she added.

Now, teachers and support staff are tired, Obrenski said. Currently, there is a substitute teacher shortage, on top of an already existing teacher shortage, and teachers and support staff are forced to teach without planning periods or lunch breaks. More needs to be done to make the job of substitute teacher more attractive, she added.

Obrenski stressed the need for more teacher support, particularly when it comes to co-teaching as part of the educational training for new teachers. Teaching is a hard job, and many new teachers get burned out and leave the profession within five years, she said. She proposed creating teacher residencies, similar to doctor residencies, in which new teachers have more time to teach alongside experienced teachers as they learn the rigors of the profession.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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