World Events

NYC teachers stun students by giving remote lessons from hammocks, moving cars

A Brooklyn high school teacher instructs her students on Zoom while riding in a car.

The oddities of remote instruction now include teachers who can conduct classes just about anywhere — from the back seat of a moving car to a backyard hammock, officials acknowledge.

A student at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn was stunned last week when teacher Nyeesha Archer appeared on Zoom to give a lesson on algebra.

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“She was teaching class like she normally does, but she was in a car,” the student told The Post, asking to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions. “I was, like, hey, my teacher’s in a car.”

The student did not hear whether Archer explained why she was in a car, but he felt she wasn’t taking the job so seriously.

“How much of a lesson could it be if she’s in a car, she’s distracted. It didn’t look like she had papers in front of her,” he said.

About a month ago, his English teacher conducted a lesson while reclining on a hammock in his backyard as his own kids played, the student said.

“He was in a hammock interacting with his kids during the lesson,” the student said. “He probably figured half the class was sleeping anyway. That’s the thing about online school. Half the kids in the class are playing video games or asleep.”

“If I’m home, I’m not taking classes as seriously as if I was in school, especially when the teachers are not taking it seriously,” he said.  “I’ve heard stories from other kids that some teachers were actually shopping. Some were out and about. Some were taking a walk with their husband or wife and children.”

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The student admitted he sometimes looks at social media or YouTube during online classes — and even cheats by swapping answers for quizzes or assignments with classmates on their cell phones. “If I see an opportunity to get answers, I’m going to get answers from my friends.”

Some 19,000 city teachers, or 24%, have received medical accommodations that permit them to work remotely, according to the Department of Education. Others work remotely if their buildings are closed due to COVID-19 cases. Murrow HS is currently closed because it is located in Midwood, a “red zone” with a spike in cases.

A Queens high school teacher said some colleagues give lessons remotely from their vacation or secondary home, which he thinks is OK.

But sitting in a car or resting on a hammock is “totally unprofessional,” he said.

“We’re obviously being paid to take it seriously, be professional and deliver quality instruction. I don’t know if you can deliver quality instruction if you have kids running around in your backyard. How can you be serious and say this is important at the same time you’re in the back seat of a moving car?”

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Archer could not be reached for comment.

The United Federation of Teachers sees no problem with the odd locations.

“Teachers are working in many creative ways to provide instruction to their remote students,” a spokesperson said.

The DOE could cite no rules or restrictions on where teachers can conduct lessons.

“New York City teachers have been incredibly dedicated in their classrooms and remotely, delivering rigorous education to our students, and we expect they will exercise their best judgment while doing so, “said spokeswoman Danielle Filson.

She added, “We have high standards for our teachers and as always, if a teacher is not doing their job, they are subject to discipline. There have been no complaints made to the school about Ms. Archer’s remote teaching abilities or conduct.”

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