America’s Black Teachers Are Going Through It

America’s Black Teachers Are Going Through It

Covid-19 and systemic racism are creating exponential stress for educators

Jada Gomez

Jada Gomez

The toll of teaching through an unprecedented pandemic is a challenging feat for any educator. But for Black teachers, the impact is disproportionate—and devastating.

For Elemental, writer Rainier Harris shares the experience of Keilan Bonner, a 40-year-old high school math teacher in Carol Stream, Illinois:

“While in-person instruction may make these conversations easier, Bonner also can’t return to the physical classroom. He had quadruple bypass open-heart surgery in 2016 after suffering a heart attack at age 36. His doctors won’t allow him to reenter the school building until there is a viable vaccine or treatment available. After his heart attack, Bonner began seeing a therapist, which he says is ‘one of the best things that have happened’ to him, especially during this pandemic, but that ‘in the Black community, [talking about] mental health [is] taboo.’”

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