How Has COVID-19 Affected Teachers?

By: Johnishala (Ariel) Scarbrough

What is COVID-19? Well, that’s a definition we should all know by now. But for those of you who may not know that COVID-19 is like the flu 2.0. COVID-19 is a Coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus can be as simple as a minor cold or severe disease. The COVID-19 has affected all of us tremendously. We know how COVID-19 affected us whether we had it or not. But have you ever wondered how the COVID-19 may have affected other people like teachers? 

I had an interview with one of my teachers, Professor Pytlak-Surdyke. Professor Pytlak-Surdyke has been teaching at NCCC for 5 years. While I was interviewing Professor Pytlak-Surdyke she told me about the impacts she had to face due to the COVID-19. One of the questions I had asked Professor Pytlak-Surdyke was how different was her teaching life before and after COVID? She told me that her teaching was kind of the same. The only difference now is she is starting to teach more hybrid classes so, therefore she can still interact with her students. She also responded that it is still a little hard for her because even though she is interacting with her students in person it is still difficult for her simply because of the masks and the barriers that are surrounding us in class. She misses being able to teach like before COVID came about.  According to the book ““On the Verge of Burnout” Covid-19’s impact on faculty well-being and career plans” the author states in his book that “Faculty members are experiencing high levels of stress, hopelessness, anger, and grief. They report heavy workloads and say their work-life balance has deteriorated. Many say they miss the “human connection” in teaching, and more than one-third have considered changing careers and leaving higher education.” Since the start of this pandemic teachers have been having a hard time trying to get the hang of the new normal. COVID-19 has been around for about 2-3 years, and I don’t think any of us will ever really get used to it.

I have also interviewed another one of my professors, Professor Ambrusko. Professor Ambrusko has been teaching on and off at NCCC between 17 and 18 years. Professor Ambrusko expressed to me how it was having to transition to online classes. She told me that she had to struggle to record virtual lectures but now that NCCC has started to have on campus learning Professor Ambrusko thinks that things are returning back to normal or the way we were before COVID. I think we can all say we hate COVID. We just want it to go away so everything can go back to normal. In March of 2020 schools started to close because of the pandemic. With schools closing and everything shutting down We had to be in quarantine. Being isolated in a house for days and months we tend to learn things about ourselves that we may not have noticed before. Professor Pytlak-Surdyke told me that because of COVID she has gotten used to staying at home. I asked Professor Ambrusko if COVID has changed her as a person. She stated that COVID has changed her as a person, she has experienced a great deal of empathy fatigue. Professor Ambrusko told me that COVID and quarantine has taught her that there is a lot of misleading information about COVID or in other words propaganda and people are feeding into it. 

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