Teachers reflect on past year, handling pandemic challenges

Culinary+teacher+Rochelle+Briggs+tells+of+the+difficulties+that+came+with+Covid+restrictions+last+school+year.+

Jimena Solis

Culinary teacher Rochelle Briggs tells of the difficulties that came with Covid restrictions last school year.

Rayna Christy, Writer

Last year, what was seemingly straight out of a science fiction novel unfolded before everyone’s eyes. The coronavirus pandemic was unexpected for all of society. While it was different for everyone, it proved to be especially difficult for educators and became a challenging task that they learned how to handle well.

Teachers had to adapt to new platforms for education, setting seating charts, and seeing only half of student’s faces with masks. These were only a few of the challenges that the pandemic threw at teachers. However, they stayed dedicated to their jobs throughout all of it.

Even with students’ disdain for the seating charts, teachers were persistent. They continued to uphold the arrangements. Some even attempted to alleviate the dislike of the situation that students held by allowing students to choose their seat before they finalized the chart. But, even if they solved that issue, other problems still arose.

“The most obvious change for myself and students was the seating chart for contact tracing purposes,” speech teacher Kara Lacouture said.

Last year taught me that we are all stronger than we realize.”

— Rochelle Briggs

Although teachers had used Microsoft Teams for months before the 2020-2021 school year, it was sometimes challenging to use the platform alongside in-person education. With lessons having to be accessible online to virtual students, planning for classes became double the workload. With various students being out for two-week periods and some at home for the year, it could be stressful for teachers at times.

“I found it hard to plan for virtual lessons,” culinary teacher Rochelle Briggs said. “Uploading worksheets and activities for culinary was not an easy task.”

Many teachers had to also balance parenting responsibilities with the extra workload. Grading and planning started to become something that took up even more time at home. Alongside this, they also had to make sure they helped their children follow any protocol put in place at their own school, and assist their child’s understanding of the situation at hand.

“When you’re a mom who has kids in a different district who have different restrictions and then a classroom with multiple different platforms of instruction, plus kids coming and going for different lengths of time in multiple classes, it’s super hard to juggle all the balls,” Briggs said.

Altogether, last year was demanding for everyone. Teachers and students alike were being forced to adapt to new circumstances. Now, this year is somewhat more normal, but teachers still carry the lessons taught to them last year.

“Last year taught me that we are all stronger than we realize,” Briggs said.