After pandemic, teachers embrace normalcy


Juniors Kira Schneider, Chase Kibble, and Connor Williams worked together as a group to solve math problems on the glass bridge during math class. Photo by Tae Herron.

Teachers are relieved to be back into the regular routine of seeing their students after having to deal with things like interacting with a faceless student on a screen, worry if the students are listening, and have to be in a classroom by themselves. 


After having schools shut down abruptly on March 12, 2020, teachers moved to online learning through Google Meets, where they looked at virtual icons online to indicate that a student was present. Few, if any, students turned their cameras on, so it was never clear if they were engaged in the lesson or not. 


It is a relief to teach students and be able to see them instead of an Among Us icon,” English teacher Tracie Lane said. “Being in person means that I can observe when students are off task or struggling with instruction.” 


The feeling of being back into a normal environment feels really good to staff and teachers after hybrid learning that happened January 17, 2022 when teachers had to teach most students online and some in person. 


“Hearing all of the students talking, laughing, hugging and engaging in conversation warms my heart,” reading specialist Valerie Rife said. “I truly enjoy seeing student’s expressions and the freedom they exhibit without fear.” 


Staff were struggling with things being different due to COVID and are still struggling since students got addicted to their devices since they will be on them all the time during COVID. 


“I think the cell phone policy this year is a direct connection to how attached students got to their phones during the pandemic,” English teacher Beth Williams said. 


Teachers were frustrated with how students have got addicted to their devices and feel like the class has changed because of it. 


“It’s been such a horrible distraction and especially for me as an art teacher, it’s made the quality of work suffer greatly. The art has been good but not as good as in years past, when everyone was less attached to their devices,” art teacher Kyla Jenkins said. 


The last two years were really a challenge for staff with having to teach and do their jobs differently than normal with school complete virtual, then some virtual some at home, then required masks in August 2021, to optional masks currently. 


“I hated teaching via Google Meet. It was awful lecturing at 25 little black boxes with little to no responses. I was so worried about the students as well – not knowing if they or their families were doing okay with their mental/physical health,” social science teacher Jamee Robinson said.


Teaching online was very uncomfortable for staff members with them looking at just icons because most students chose to keep their cameras off.


“My camera was off all the time and during that time I will be playing my PlayStation with friends because online learning was difficult for me to understand,” senior Dylan Nguyen said. 


Teachers were ready for the switch back to students in the actual classroom instead of on the computer screen. 


“Digital instruction and having to teach how to do everything virtually instead of in person was very draining,” social science teacher Pamela Davidson said. “The expectations of teachers and students alike were astronomical. We all tried our best at the time, but it’s been a wonderful reset button for the classroom and school in general.” 


The pandemic made students’ actions different after most students learned at home for over a year, which started in March 2020 and continued to August 2021, which required masks when students were all back in the building.


“In my experience, students learned how to voice their needs and become strong self advocators,” CTE teacher Stephane Longchamp said. 


Building relationships with students feels more special this time since it’s been a while since staff was actually able to. 


“The need to build a relationship with students has never been more prevalent. This relationship allows us to challenge students to think critically, but allow them to know that we will be there to support them along the journey,” math teacher Jarod Brown said.