How LHS teachers feel about the COVID-19 vaccine

LHS+Spanish+teacher+Monica+Conover%27s+desk+full+of+cleaning+supplies+and++assignments+from+students

Photo taken by Jada Sandvall

LHS Spanish teacher Monica Conover’s desk full of cleaning supplies and assignments from students

Jada Sandvall, Staff Writer

After months of being distanced from students, LHS teachers have never been happier to be in their classrooms doing what they love, but the safety of their students is a lingering thought in their minds every day. 

In the next few months, teachers will finally be given the opportunity to receive what could be a life-changing aspect to their teaching during COVID-19, the long-awaited vaccine. For not only the safety of themselves but of their families and students, many teachers at LHS have been eagerly counting down the days until the notification pops up alerting them that it is finally accessible to them. 

Over the past 10 months, teachers and students across the nation have been thrown into a “new normal” with masks and social distancing. Bringing it into the present day, these adaptations have never fully disappeared. For teachers specifically, they have learned to cater to all situations and although difficult, come up with different ways to communicate and read their students.

 “Teaching, it has really changed because you can just not read people,” said LHS AP biology teacher Steve Ortmeier. “So much of what we do as a species is visual and we do not get that anymore. You try to work with your eyes all the time and some of us are just not as good at that as others.” 

A common habit for teenagers is to overlook the lives of teachers outside of school. LHS freshman English teacher Xavier Pastrano has always been known as the ‘calm, cool and collected’ teacher who has remained strong during these difficult times; no student would ever expect him to crack under pressure. Throughout COVID-19, Pastrano has learned to be a light for his students but recently, his students have been his personal light. Back in December, over Christmas break, Pastrano lost his grandfather to this devastating virus and it taught him how to see from a different perspective. 

“That to me was just so eye-opening to see how real this virus is and how many lives it is affecting,” said Pastrano. “I just want to do what I feel like is responsible to help myself and help others in my family.”

Not only have the social distancing regimens taken an emotional toll on students, but on teachers. Teachers have had to shift into a mindset of supporting their beloved students as they struggle academically but also emotionally. 

“I need to be high energy for my students and be there for them, and if they see me being unmotivated then I am not totally doing my job,” said Pastrano. 

For LHS Spanish teacher Monica Conover, her bond with her students is why she continues to teach. Without being able to interact with them all the time, teaching just does not feel the same.

“I hate not being able to see their smiles,” said Conover. “It is hard for me to maintain the six feet rule because I do not get the aspect of being able to be with my students working one on one with them.”

When becoming a teacher, one learns the value of putting others before themselves. Particularly at LHS, the majority of teachers have come to the conclusion that to protect their students and families, the vaccine is the safest route to go.

“Absolutely, I am going to jump as fast as I can to get it. I fully support that it is a smart science move,” said Ortmeier. 

Although the vaccine has become vital in order to revert to a normalized lifestyle, society still has its speculations. Two common factors are its long term effects and how long the vaccine will be effective. 

“Chances are, there are going to be the long term effects of the vaccine,” said Pastrano. “We also still do not know the longevity of the vaccine and the protection.”

Despite the media and society’s speculations, teachers want to do whatever it takes to allow students to feel safe when learning.