COVID-19 takes a toll on teachers


Undeniably, COVID-19 has taken a toll on education. 

Either behind a screen and behind a mask, hybrid or remote, students now find themselves learning in far different, and in many ways more difficult models than ever seen.

Parents, too, have had to work around the uncertain scheduling that COVID-19 has imposed and they’re are often stuck at home, rearranging their work schedules so they can watch their children due to remote learning.   

However, the teachers often go unnoticed in their struggle to adapt to education during a pandemic. The people responsible for providing the students the necessary environment and tools they need in order to learn are also trying to find their balance. 

Ms. Sheehan, a foreign language teacher at Pembroke Academy, said she has been overwhelmed since schools closed for remote learning last spring. 

“I felt defeated,” she said. “I didn’t want to work. I wonder the students were even getting anything from it.”

In March, when schools closed around the state for two weeks of quarantine, Ms. Sheehan said most people treated it “like a snow day.” 

Two weeks then extended as the pandemic stretched on, and then remote learning began in an asynchronous model. 

As time passed and school shuttered for the year, she noticed how limited she was teaching remotely.

“I felt restricted, especially as a language teacher with no way to monitor how anyone was doing,” she said. “There was no way to explain anything or practice anything that was as beneficial as being in the classroom. Even answering questions was difficult because it had to be done all through email.”  

She said these “restrictions” caused a large number of kids to disengaged and stop turning in work. She said that there needed to be more “accountability” for the students. 

When summer arrived and school ended, Ms. Sheehan said she felt “relieved.”  

Currently, she is glad that things seem to be headed in the right direction for the new school year with the current hybrid model. Even with the prospects of a vaccine in the future, Ms. Sheehan tempered her enthusiasm.  

“I’m hopeful for the future, but it’s probably going to be a long long time until we can be back to normal,” she said.