Teachers, like students, need extra support

Grace Mossing, Editor-in-Chief

I attended school in person on Thursday, Nov. 12, the day after the school board declared junior highs and high schools would be switching back to 100% virtual starting that Monday, Nov. 16. There is not a word I could use to describe the mood of the school building, other than heavy. 

Students in my classes seemed exhausted and anxious, but most of my focus was on teachers. They seemed overwhelmed, to say the least. There was talk in the hallways of teachers trying to figure out how they would run classes from now on with lesson plans already made conducive to the hybrid schedule. I passed teachers with tears in their eyes telling their coworkers how much they would miss their students. I listened to how teachers were scrambling to find solutions to get materials to kids they would not see any more.

Personally, I had two experiences with teachers of mine breaking down. I walked into their classrooms to see tears in their eyes and streaming down their faces as they started to speak to my classes. They were stressed and saddened about being away from their students. My heart broke watching them battle through this tough situation.

Teachers were given no notice of the school shutting down when the school board announced it on Wednesday, Nov. 11. They heard the news at the same time as everyone else in the district. Teachers had lesson plans laid out, supplies to give to students, plans for their classes and, in one moment, everything was turned around for them, again. Once more, the district made them start over. 

Teachers are overworked. This year, more than any other, teachers are expected to play an excessive amount of roles: teacher, counselor, parent, friend, coordinator, IT expert, custodian and more. These do not even include the roles they play within their family, social circles or other outside activities. The Washington Post explained brilliantly what teachers are feeling in this pandemic world by giving them their voice in writer Joe Heim’s article, Pandemic teaching in their words.

The district, parents and even students expect teachers to adapt to sudden changes with no issues. We live under the false pretense that teachers have an easy job and they can do anything with no help. What we refuse to acknowledge is that teachers need our support. 

Constantly, teachers are required to meet new standards. Whether it is with new technology, new students, teaching benchmarks or dealing with what is going on in the world, teachers must adjust, and adjusting is not easy.

Now that we are back to a full-time virtual schedule, teachers are sitting in their classrooms by themselves with their students looking back at them from a screen. They sometimes have to teach through painful Zoom classes with blank screens or no one else speaking to them. Teachers teach for their students; without their participation, teaching gets much harder. 

As students, we are highly aware of our own lack of motivation and stress with virtual school, but we tend to disregard the feelings of those who are teaching us. They take time and effort out of their day to make virtual school feel like school. Students need to be more cognizant of their teachers and the struggles that come with their job. Being more active in class or speaking when a question is asked could make a teacher’s day. 

In the same sense, we all, adults and students, need to give teachers the benefit of the doubt. We are all dealing with a strange world and a pandemic, and they feel the effects of it, too. Just as they are patient with us, we need to be patient with them. 

There would be no school without teachers. School would not exist in their absence, yet people tend to forget this. They look at institutions for the formation of their children, but it is really the teachers who take them into their adulthood.