The Shoe’s on the Other Foot

First-year teachers learn all about the struggles of a post-COVID world


Every year teachers retire and new teachers fill in behind them. In most cases, teachers spend their first year getting their toes wet by connecting with students and figuring out a whole new world. But in this new world of COVID-19, teachers must not only figure out a  new job but also tangle with the added struggles of Zoom, student absences, and more.

Math teacher Atlanta Stanton braced for the school year and even looked forward with positivity despite knowing there would be sudden challenges.

“There was actually that change from semesters [to trimesters] days before school started… I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was going to be just kind of fun chaos. This extra COVID stuff made it extra spicy,” said Stanton.

With COVID still currently happening, teachers have had to learn all about new and challenging things. Math teacher Emily Schoen has felt the struggles of COVID with the already added pressure of first-year teaching.

“Learning how to manage a classroom is definitely a first-year struggle. Reminding students to wear their masks and to wear them properly is something completely COVID-related,” said Schoen.

Through all of this, they have learned a lot–not only about teaching but about the students they’ve taught.

“I have a very good sense now working here, though, for almost the whole school year, of how much I love my job,” said Stanton. 

“The best part of teaching this year has been getting to know the students. I love watching my students grow each and every day into the adults they will someday be,” said Schoen.

Despite all of the challenges they’ve faced, these first-year teachers are looking to the bright side of things. Chemistry teacher Nate Wildenberg reflected on the positive social interactions he’s had. 

“I’ve loved meeting all the people, students, and just getting to know everybody making relationships. I feel like I’ve connected pretty well. It helps especially that my back room is shared with Anderson,” said Wildenberg.

Many teachers have made the best of a complex situation this year. Choosing to look to the brighter side of things, they have been able to enjoy this year as a whole. Some are even looking forward to the following school year and the excitement it may hold.

“I like seeing the students have fun because it’s really hard to do that right now, you know, with COVID stuff,” said Stanton.

“I would say I’m optimistic. I will most likely be teaching the same courses again, which will be nice, and then I have some experience,” said Wildenberg.

Even though this year has been compared to many things, Stanton has seen the bright side of things. Affirming her hopes that she chose a career she loves. All of the first-year teachers are optimistic for the upcoming school year and are excited about new challenges.

“I picked a good one, you never know for sure, like oh am I gonna like this job or not and now that I’m in, I love it, so I think no matter what next year brings, I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing,” said Stanton.