By Saanvi Mirchandani
These past few weeks, students at NHP have noticed that many teachers have been absent or teaching from home because of the increasing number of teachers that have been quarantined. Sometimes, students had to be combined into one room or travel to the auditorium so that there would be adequate supervision, and other times, students were left completely by themselves because no one showed up to the classroom. However, no one is to blame for this problem: adapting to life during a pandemic is no easy feat.
During the past few days, the building has had up to 125 coverages per day. The Chariot interviewed the teachers who are tasked with creating the coverage assignment list, Mr. Ferrara and Mr. Laugen.
Source by Olivia Wong
In one instance, teachers' conferences had to be cancelled due to the influx of needed coverages, evidenced by the multiple charts in the picture above.
Q: As a teacher in the building, what are some challenges you have faced when other faculty members are quarantined?
Mr. John Ferrara: From the standpoint of handling coverages for our faculty, the biggest challenge is ensuring that we have enough people to cover the classes while making sure we are equitable to our colleagues. When there is more than one teacher quarantined, that's when it becomes a challenge to make sure we have enough teachers to cover those classes.
Mr. Bernard Laugen: As a teacher, it has been challenging having a large number of teachers out this year due to quarantine protocols and other COVID-19 related issues. This year, teachers have been forced to do an unusually high number of coverages, and I think this has added to the general stress many teachers feel with this unique school year. Instead of a period off to recharge and relax, teachers are being sent into classrooms where they lose that period to relax and recharge and may feel more exposed to COVID-19.
Q: What are the effects of having so many teachers that need coverages?
JF: The effect is that colleagues have more coverages than usual, trying to figure out a solid schedule for our substitutes that are really doing an amazing job. It is very complicated at times, but I am beyond grateful to have Mr. Laugen as my partner-in-crime for this duty.
BL: As far as the effects on the school of having so many teachers out - well, I don’t think it’s ideal for students or teachers. In some situations, students are being sent to the auditorium or several classes are being combined into a single classroom. The constant screen time is definitely not a good thing, either. I think many teachers are struggling with the conditions they are being asked to teach in this year: new technology with very little training, hybrid learning, distance learning. A lot of teachers are working hard and doing their best, but it’s exhausting and stressful and I think many teachers feel burnt out. I think the excessive coverages is just adding to this general feeling. As one of two teachers who assigns the coverages, it has made my job extremely challenging and time-consuming. We [Mr. Ferrara and I] often arrive early and we often work from home each night making sure we are prepared for the next day.
Q: What are your experiences teaching from home/being quarantined?
JF: Teaching from home has been a better experience than I had envisioned. As a teacher that moves around the classroom and promotes humor and student interaction, it was definitely a challenge at first because there is a slight disconnect when teaching from a computer screen, versus in person. I have always been a teacher that likes to perform in front of an audience.
BL: I haven’t been quarantined, and I’ve only taught from home on the days that the whole school was closed. I can say this - it’s a lot easier when your students are in one place, rather than both on a screen and in class, so teaching when we are all remote is nice in that all of the students are in one place and your attention is not divided.
Q: What is your favorite part about teaching from home?
JF: My favorite part about working from home is being able to teach in my pajamas. 🙂
BL: My favorite part of teaching from home is getting to sleep in a bit and not having to commute! All in all though, I definitely prefer being here at NHP, and I truly look forward to the days of having a school full of NHP students!