Teacher’s side of the story


Teaching has completely changed over the last 30+ years. Talking non-stop for hours. Dealing with kids all day. Repeating yourself over and over. Day in, day out. This is the agenda for teachers at West. Following this pattern, every day all day seems like nothing changes, and nothing does…when you’re only here for four years. But in the long run, everything is changing. 

From the obvious changes, COVID-19 brought, social media also changed everything. Remote learning, interacting completely online, no more textbooks, and doing tests/quizzes/exams all online. It changes the whole concept of a classroom. The students certainly feel the effects of the changes, but they accept them and have dealt with them their whole lives because they were born into a technological age. However, teachers have been here much longer than that. Some have been teaching since the 80s-90s when walkmans and VCRs were a thing. What changes have the teachers seen in their many years at West?

“Every school is different naturally, but at the same time, there’s also tons of similarity,”

— Garrett Hartwig

COVID has had a big impact on schools everywhere. Teachers had to be very lenient with WiFi issues and with making a huge change from in-person to online. Some kids just turned on their screen and left or fell asleep. Some didn’t do much of the work, but teachers couldn’t do much in the position they were in. 

“It just broke my heart that I never really got to know my students. It breaks my heart to have a student come in, say, “Oh, I had you last year” and it’s like, yeah, but you know, you were a zoom box that usually just had your name on it. I never heard you know, didn’t get to hear your voice.” -Said government and sociology teacher Gary, Neuzil 

Trying to reconnect with students after only seeing a black box for so long was and still is really difficult for teachers. To create an atmosphere of community in a classroom you need to actually look and engage with your students, so not looking at your students or barely hearing their voices can make it hard for anyone to connect with someone.

“ You know, it’s really hard to reach out to kids, it’s really hard to connect with kids” -Said French teacher Teresa Juhl.

Social media and technology are another majorly impacting thing in teaching. How students interact with each other and how they interact with teachers. Social media is how students have conversations and how they share their life and see others. Technology is how they turn in assignments and now are taking tests. This age of technology can be both good and bad for schools.

“In regards to social media. I think social media has a place in our personal lives. But I think it’s taken a bigger role in society. And I think that’s causing issues.” -Said government and sociology teacher Gary, Neuzil

Technology has wedged itself in our lives and it won’t be leaving for a while to come, but that does have its downsides. Such as inappropriate use of technology in schools and by students. There is very limited privacy in social media nowadays, once you post something, even if you delete your account, it will stay up there forever. Even if it gets taken down, people have still reposted it to another site. 

“It’s just hard for students to comprehend that when they hit send, no matter if you delete your account, you delete the message, whatever. It’s out there forever.” Said administrator Garett Hartwig 

With all of this access, what impacts does it have on the mentality of students and teachers? All of the world is online, and working from home is now easier than ever. But with that, you’re now not only competing with people in your area but around the world. That’s pretty stressful. Everyone is now only numbers and uniqueness is hard to obtain when everyone is also trying to be unique. 

“And then you lose the individuality that some of you, you know, really live off of individuality. And yet when you’re trying to be an individual, then you’re almost cast aside or you’re doing something wrong because you want to be unique.” Said  Neuzil

Changes are everywhere and sometimes all we can do is roll with the punches and work through it.