Featured image by Andrea Piacquadio
Written by Bella Richmond, Intern, Met Sacramento High School
In the previous article, Adapting to Pandemic Learning…Again, I interviewed four upperclassmen from the Met Sacramento High School about their back to in-person learning experiences, and many of my peers are still struggling to adapt after returning in-person. One student got Covid-19, another is taking care of their siblings while in school, and another student had their grades drop after returning in-person. A Junior said, “you have gone to school before, so there is more pressure to do well.” I concluded that some of the struggles students are facing are because of how school carries on as normal when the pandemic still looms over us. Teachers are also working in unprecedented conditions. In a survey conducted by The Guardian, 80% of districts in California, between 2017 and 2018, reported a shortage of qualified teachers. Even small schools, like the Met Sacramento, are feeling the teacher shortage. The interviews I conducted with three staff members helped me to understand some of the reasons behind returning to school as if everything was “normal” again.
According to Principal Denise Lambert, “being back full time feels strange. It is the same as what students are feeling.” Many educators mentioned issues around helping sophomores and freshmen acclimate to the environment. One teacher, Manuel Favela said, “I feel like I have to be a middle school teacher.” Teachers and administrators expressed their concern that sophomores and freshmen did not have the necessary time to grow because of the pandemic. Our Resource Specialist Program teacher, Scott Ford, said “I work with families closely, and I think they are extremely excited that we are back with our students again.” The teachers are overwhelmed but happy to be back. I now understand that adapting to teaching in-person, while the teacher shortage and pandemic persist, is challenging but worth the struggle.
The Met Sacramento is well set up to accommodate students’ needs coming back in-person, but that does not make students immune to the struggles of returning in a pandemic stricken world. The Met Sacramento has an advisory system, where groups of under twenty-five students go through all four grades together. In the first set of interviews, students spoke about how the small tight-knit nature of the school is to our benefit. School administration had a different take. The principal said, “things behind the scenes are what make having a small staff and taking care of Covid-protocols hard.” Principal Lambert explained how the staff already has their hands full running a school like the Met Sacramento, and the pandemic has certainly not eased their workload. Every teacher and student I interviewed had something different to say about how they adapted to being back in school. As our world opens up, it is important we bring people together with care and patience. In my next article, I will further analyze the student and educator experience to find the path forward.