This is an effort of the Baltimore Teachers Union in conjunction with AFT-Maryland to highlight Baltimore City Public School System employees who provide needed services and resources to Baltimore’s students. Education has been asked to uniquely adapt to the challenges that COVID-19 presents and educational professionals such as those in the Baltimore Teachers Union routinely go above and beyond their assigned duties to help provide Baltimore city students with some semblance of normalcy.
Antoine Wallace is a special education paraprofessional at the William Baer School. The mandates for social distancing are impacting everyone differently and Antoine is no different. It pains him not to be able to be hands on with his students given the specific challenges they face. Additionally, Antoine has asthma so the constant threat of a deadly upper respiratory illness is mentally taxing.
While it’s difficult being away from his students physically, he does cherish their smiles. Considering the student population that he works with, it’s vital to be present with them; however he says seeing their smiles “makes your job worthwhile.” Another great feeling of working with Baltimore city youth is watching them learn new things and make new discoveries. Antoine says “to see them actually catch on and grasp what you’ve been trying to teach will make a bad day, a better day.”
The new normal that all of us are in has not been lost on Antoine. He recognizes that there are challenges educating students all across the city including in his school. Despite this, he considers himself blessed to work in this field. “Everyone doesn’t have the patience for this…sometimes I grow tired, especially being a parent. Growing up I always wanted to be a help to someone else…to still work in the pandemic, I’m blessed to still have a job but I’m even more blessed because I can still be a blessing to someone else.”