How teachers feel about going back

Keyla Holmes, Reporter

Pencils, check. Notebooks, check. Masks? Check. Back to school is not only looking a bit different for incoming students, but also for teachers. 

As the pandemic continues to present hardships for people’s everyday lives, the return to school Sept. 28 in the midst of the Covid-19 virus causes great concern for  teachers as far as the quality of education being presented and the safety of all those who return.

Teachers are focusing on creating content for both online and in-person classes. The balance in doing so is creating stress. 

“There are a huge portion of the teachers that think it’s very difficult creating content for a virtual environment,” Public speaking teacher Christopher Proctor said. 

In order to make the transition back to school as smooth as possible under the unfortunate circumstances Martin is currently facing, Proctor said he is focused on creating as much content as he can in order to prepare for the return to in-person learning. 

“The number one thing I’m trying to do is to just build online content for when the students come back,” Proctor said. “I‘m doing everything I can to try and build as much future content.” 

While the concern of presenting content to both online students and those in school is heavy on the teacher’s minds, so is the question of normalcy and its importance in impacting us as a society. 

“There has to be a tipping point in where there is more cultural damage from continuing to shut life down, than there is of a certain number of people getting sick,” Proctor said. “I feel like we might’ve hit that point.”

In addition to the question of normalcy and its importance, teachers express their concerns in terms of safety. 

“I want the safety of our students, teachers, and staff to be a higher priority than the need of normalcy,” English teacher Kathleen Blanchard said.

As school starts, the concern is great that the upkeep of all the safety measures the virus entails will slowly dissipate as students become more nonchalant and as teachers will become exhausted in their new responsibilities. 

“I’m worried it’ll look like ‘normal’ school with masks,” Blanchard said. “I think for awhile the students will stay separated and teachers will be vigilant, but as time passes by, people will get sick, students will become more lax, and teachers will be exhausted trying to cover every base they’re being asked to cover. My biggest concern is being in a room with a fairly high proximity to the same people for hours at a time.”

 As much distress as teachers, staff and students are facing, the amount of communication between the district and the teachers is causing concern in returning back to school. The lack of teacher voices creates uneasiness amongst Martin staff. 

“We need to not only be a part of the discussion, but a part of the decision making as well,” Blanchard said. “We will be the front line.”