Horry County Schools parent quits job to support virtual learning

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – As families continue to adjust to virtual schooling, one Horry County Schools parent quit her job to support the demanding workload.

It turns out she isn’t alone.

A nationwide survey suggests 40% of parents have adjusted their employment situations since the beginning of the pandemic and women have been impacted greatly.

Hannah Hamill is an Horry County Schools parent and mother of three. Her son is elementary school and her two daughters are middle and high school.

Hamill wears a lot of hats in her house, but this week she is wearing one less.

“Now I can’t provide for my children the way I used to because I have to stop working to teach my children,” said Hamill.

All three of her kids are in the HCS virtual schooling module and balancing school with her part-time job became a struggle.

“Every day I went to work I spent a lot of time stepping away from everything to ‘How’s school going? Is school work done? Is your brother in his google meet? Did you go to your google meet? What’s going on with this?’” said Hamill. “It got to where I was telling my daughters take a picture of an assignment you need help with so I can see if I can answer while I’m at work.”

She says her older kids mainly teach themselves lessons.

While assignments are getting done, she says they are not retaining information and it shows in their scores.

“When you look at the work and she’s pretty much on pace with some of her classes and getting 30’s and 40’s grades you have to consider that,” said Hamill.

She left her job to help guide lessons at home, but says this isn’t what she signed up for.

“Not knowing that we had to teach our own children because teachers are refusing to teach the children. I had a teacher tell me verbatim she was not going to have lessons, even after I requested it,” said Hamill.

Hamill says some virtual teachers are great with communication, while others are only available during office hours.

“Teachers are getting paid to do this. So they’re getting paid for what I had to quit my job to do,” said Hamill.

She’s asking for help from the district.

“The virtual students deserve and need to actually have school lessons be taught by a teacher. They need to be taught by a teacher,” said Hamill.

Hamill spoke with HCS Executive Director of Online Learning, Edi Cox, on Wednesday to express her concerns.

Hamill says Cox was aware of the issues surrounding virtual teaching and was told the district is working with teachers fix them.

In a statement to News13 Cox said:

Young learners will certainly need a strong support system within the home when participating in the full-time Virtual Program.  Parents of elementary-age students are more hands-on and involved in guiding students and assisting with projects or schoolwork that may be completed both on and away from the computer. This on-site supervision and support are critical in the early years, while students in older grades begin to work more independently.

In a traditional classroom, a teacher manages schedules for students and teaches live lessons.  In the online classroom, the majority of instruction is delivered asynchronously and supplemented by live lessons, allowing students more flexibility when they do their work.

HCS will continue to provide support for our virtual teachers. Support includes an extensive professional development plan which provides ongoing support and guidance for more than 600 teachers who are new to the virtual environment.  District specialists are providing ongoing professional development and support sessions for virtual teachers, as well as providing coaching as needed.  This is the same support system available for teachers in the brick-and-mortar school setting.

Hamill says she hopes to return to work in the future, but will prioritize her children’s education first.

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