How Has Covid Affected Teachers and Staff?

Leticia Hernandez Selvage, Writer

Have you ever wondered what teachers thought when Covid hit most of the time we think about what has happened to ourselves or families but what about teachers? They have gone through a lot. From teaching in school to teaching at, home it has changed them. Their perspective is so different. They had so many plans for students. They didn’t think we were going to be out for so long. None of us have an idea of what they thought or wanted to do or still have in mind. Many teachers hit a semi-depression stage. They got sad that they didn’t see their students anymore. So many things changed and it just wasn’t normal. So, what did they have going on in their mind?

In order for us to see their perspective I went ahead and interviewed Principle Kibler and got her side and asked her a few questions with hybrid and virtual:

What were your thoughts when Covid hit or happened?

“March 13, on a Friday is when it all started… it hit like a “blizzard”. We thought it was only going to be 2 weeks or a month but no. We didn’t know when we would be coming back. It felt like it was coming out of a sci-fi movie. People had left. It was like it teleported people out. It was like something from Star Trek. It wasn’t like we were leaving for summer vacation.  Everything was still there: coffee mugs, papers with student names, notebooks, lacrosse sticks and uniforms. Life all of a sudden got interrupted. Education was lost. The spring time was supposed to be a season and time to celebrate so many things like prom, senior night. But it was all gone and couldn’t do them. There was no closure like no period at the end of a sentence. Normal traditions were gone and forced us to do things differently.”

Once Covid is over what is one thing you want to do?

“Covid put a lot of restrictions on us but for the seniors we want to celebrate their graduation, face-to-face prom, show school spirit. We want to bring back not only sports but clubs and extracurricular activities. I also want to reconnect with the rising 10th graders.”

How do you think the first day of hybrid went?

“Logistically it went well. Kids were amazing. They followed directions and they stayed safe. A lot of kids didn’t come. But we ensure that everyone is following the rules and staying safe so no one has to worry.”

When do you see all the kids coming back?

“Vaccinations are available now. Johnson & Johnson are getting out their vaccines for teenagers from the ages 14-18 so that’s one thing to look at. Greater percentage of kids will go hybrid in August but we will definitely be like this till the end of the school year.”

What is some advice you want to give to the students?

“Be patient. Change is hard for everyone. Give us time to figure this out all together. Stay with us. Be leaders and ambassadors. Lead the way for other students to come back

I also interviewed Coach Chaffman:

What were your thoughts when Covid hit?

“At first I wasn’t that concerned. I couldn’t believe it. When everything shut down it became more real”

How did Covid affect you?

“It affected work a lot. It affected my part time job and coaching lacrosse. I couldn’t see my family and had to cancel some plans for a trip to see them. It was all devastating. Just got stuck in the house. I worried that I could get sick and carry it on to my family and spread it.”

Do you prefer virtual or hybrid?

“ I preferred hybrid better. I’m happy to be back. Love seeing my students back. Doing both hybrid and virtual can be difficult at times. It’s very challenging for everyone, not just me. Hardest part is forming relationships with students. In volleyball, you can’t even play volleyball since we can’t all touch the ball. We are very limited to what we can do.”

When do you see kids coming back?

“Hopefully next year!”

How do you think the first day of hybrid went?

“It went really well. Everyone came in not knowing what would occur.”

What do you look forward to when Covid ends?

“I just want normal to happen again. I want a fun environment. I want to form positive relationships with my students. I noticed that some of the freshmen are still very nervous and quiet so I want that to change.”

What advice do you have for the students?

“I totally recommend reaching out if you need anything. Don’t worry, teachers don’t and want to be annoyed.  We want you to reach out. You are very important to us. Don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to us or can’t get in touch with us.”

Lastly, I interviewed Ms. Blum one of the guidance counselors here at TJ. I asked her almost the same questions.

What were your thoughts when Covid hit?

“I was surprised school was closed for two weeks. When school continued to be closed, I was scared and nervous for my family and friends and my students and their families.”

How did Covid affect you?

“My mom and stepdad and my sister and her family live in Colorado. We see each other every summer. Under normal circumstances, I only get to see my sister once a year. Needless to say, that did not happen last summer, and it has been difficult. We are very close, and our kids really miss each other. My kids were in late middle school and very social. It was and still is a difficult time to be a parent. Not everyone’s parents the same under normal circumstances, let alone in a pandemic.

What were some of the things that Covid stopped you from doing?

“I couldn’t see my family.”

Do you prefer virtual or hybrid?

“While I know it is more difficult for classroom teachers, I prefer hybrid. I love having students back in the building. I have missed them. It’s way more fun with kids here!”

 How do you think the first day of hybrid went?

“I thought the first day of hybrid went very well. I was impressed.”

When do you see kids coming back?

“I would love to have students back full-time in the fall, but I don’t make the rules.”

Lastly, what advice do you have for students?

“Please, please, please engage in school and ask for help when you need it. We are here to support you. I know this is different, not what we are used to, but please know we are here and we miss you!!!!”

So, there you have it. One amazing principle, teacher, and counselor expressing how Covid hit and their thoughts in the school world and outside. Don’t forget everyone goes through it. But we have to fight this together and make it end.