History Teacher Reflects On The 2020-2021 School Year

Alexa Martinez, Journalist

When the news that schools would be shutting down for two weeks surfaced, a variety of emotions were shown. Students were happy thinking that those two weeks would be spent doing what they wanted, while teachers were genuinely concerned for the safety of their students, but also their education. This is why everyone will always remember the day of March 13, 2020. It was the day that changed everything for everyone. 

Unknowingly, everyone spent the next year in quarantine. This was so different from what students and teachers had been used to. For many, mental health states and grades went down, and while this may have taken a toll on students, it also did on teachers. 

“Covid-19 affected me deeply, although not nearly as much as many others who were sick with Covid-19 themselves, lost family members, or lost jobs within families. So I consider myself as much more fortunate than many. However, the stay-at-home orders meant I was home alone for months; I didn’t see my children or any family members during that time which was difficult. Thank goodness for my kitties!” said Cherie Mckernan, the AP U.S. History and Government teacher at Maywood Academy High school.

A year later, news that schools would reopen was met with surprise.  The reasoning behind this was because Covid-19 was still around and vaccines had barely been distributed. Therefore, many parents didn’t agree that students should be back on campus.

“99% of my students opted to stay home once schools reopened, so I believe this decision was likely out of our hands. However, it is my strong belief that the 2021-2022 school year should be taught entirely in-person and believe LAUSD should require vaccinations for all students,” said Mckernan.

On April 26th, 2021, teachers were back on campus. Hoping to see at least some of their students, many teachers noticed that after the first week back to school, students had decided to transition back to at-home distance learning. Although student participation had been rough, many teachers had noticed a difference within some students. 

“..some of the more ‘quiet’ students found it easier to speak up, especially with the chat box option, so in some ways, I would like to keep this function in place when we return to classroom teaching,” said Mckernan.

Although Covid-19 may have changed social learning to virtual learning, teachers’ passion to teach will always remain the same. This is because seeing their students accomplish what they knew they could all along, even under difficult circumstances, is what overpowers any feeling of frustration or stress with happiness. 

“Covid-19 has offered teachers the opportunity to adjust to a crisis, no matter how difficult. For me it meant relearning lesson delivery, not an easy task when students have been reduced to little black rectangles (and who may or may not actually be present behind them). I would add that Covid-19 turned my love of teaching on its head because in-person student interaction is key to my love of the profession.,” said Mckernan.