Editorial: Teachers deserve our appreciation

English+teacher+Ms.+Laurie+OBrien+works+in+her+classroom+on+the+second+floor+of+Loretto+Hall.+

Ava Amos

English teacher Ms. Laurie O’Brien works in her classroom on the second floor of Loretto Hall.

Megaphone Staff

The pandemic has stretched into something over the past eight months that is no longer simply affecting people across the globe, or even in just the East Coast, but rather has impacted everyone up to this point. Educationally speaking, faculty and students have had to go through many growing pains and struggles in being able to work out efficient ways for students, whether public, private, charter or whatever, to be able to learn.

With the coronavirus pushing — or mandating, in the case of our school — many into full online learning and requiring those who do come to school to be under strict protocols, teachers have had to change their ways of life more than most. As the one of the hardest, most challenging, and most emotionally straining semesters ever comes to a close, it’s important to remember to thank those who have woken up every day to serve the youth of America no matter the circumstances.

Many teachers on the Hill have been in the business for awhile. Cathedral has an amazing tradition of hiring and retaining teachers who are in it for the long run, as many teachers at Cathedral have taught for many decades both here and at different schools.

These are people who for as many as five decades have been waking up earlier than most to get a head start and get into their routine to conquer the school day. The coronavirus has seen massive changes to scheduling, in class functions and student interactions at school. Teachers are having to adapt to changes that can happen every day, learn how to best get information across to their students without much close interaction, and more, all while wearing masks, collecting trash at end of lunch periods and wiping down desks several times job, tasks that typically are not part of their job descriptions.

Many people have had to sacrifice here and there, to be able to get by, but the level of sacrifice the teachers at Cathedral and those across the country have been required to do is hard to find right now outside those involved in the medical field. For people such as teachers, who are used to and often dependent on a routine after years of forming one, this pandemic has represented another factor of stress and difficulty.

While the younger generation might think it a natural change when the world goes virtual, for most older than college age, the transition has been and still is hard. Even most students who have grown up knowing the ins and outs of technological functions are struggling to balance in person and virtual lives. 

While the Marion County Health Department has forced Cathedral to go fully online, for the first quarter and a half of the year, teachers were required to ensure the learning of in person students and those on Zoom, EduStream or any virtual platform, all simultaneously. Even eight or so months in, there are still technological barriers, the largest being the fact that most all devices cannot fully replicate the feeling of being in class, seeing everything the average student sees and hearing everything the teacher says. Learning how to teach both in person and online students, answer each group’s questions, facilitate tests and quizzes for both of them, all while having to remain socially distant and with a form of a vocal muffler over one’s face is a short summary of the process being a teacher has been during the pandemic.

Switching to online learning has eliminated the need to teach two different types of learners at once, but there are still road bumps. Teachers are humans, too — and just like the average student, in ways, getting up just to virtually see people is in a way harder at times than it would be to get up and go to a normal school day. Teachers and faculty are having to find ways to ensure full learning with integrity for at home students, another task that has involved heaps of sacrifice.

Whatever you call, determine or define sacrifice by, there is always some amount of proportional gratitude that comes with it on the end that is receiving the benefits. Whether it is a quick email, or unmuting at the end of class for a few seconds, letting our teachers know we are thankful for all the sacrifices they have had to make over the past few months can go a long way.

Especially during the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas, a little note of thankfulness and recognition is more important than ever. Many teachers do not receive the glory or high praise or pay they deserve even during normal school years, and with all the added stress and workload of the pandemic, it is important we as a Cathedral family let our teachers know how grateful we are for all the sacrifices they continue to make.