Teaching Through the Pandemic – In Gelan’s Words

Gelan Giergues has been teaching through the pandemic in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in Greek and Roman archaeology from Egypt and a master’s in education from GCU. She came to the United States ten years ago from Egypt. She has worked as an elementary teacher for six years. Her favorite subject is math.


Teaching Through the Pandemic – In Galen’s Words

When the pandemic started, I was so scared about my family and students. At that time, I worked in a school in the poorest area of Arizona. I saw how my students were terrified. Many parents lost their jobs, and some had no other solution than to go back to Mexico. When they closed the school and did online school, my goal became to comfort my students more than teach them. Because at that time, students needed someone to listen to them and calm their little minds before instructing them. They needed a kind heart more than a teacher’s instructions. It is hard to teach a terrified, worried mind.  

quote "it is hard to teacher a terrified, worried mind" with image of storm clouds

I tried to listen to them and assure them that everything would be good. Some students were so concerned because their parents had to leave home every day and go to work, and then when they entered the house, kids were afraid to be close to their parents. They hoped and prayed that their parents would come home safe and not get the virus. Other students cried because their parents left their job and did not know how to feed their kids or pay the rent. Some students were scared because they did not know or understand what was happening around them. Many had nightmares about what could happen to them. 

daisies growing up toward a cloudy skyWhen the 2021 school year started, to be honest, I missed teaching from my classroom, but teaching from home allowed me to help my mother who had fallen ill over the summer. We went back to school by the second semester, but some students were still online learners, and some were in person. It was not easy to teach both at the same time. I was new to Google classroom and struggled to learn the technology. Once I figured it out, it helped me so much. Also, all of my fellow teachers were very cooperative. If any teacher found a good and valuable website, she would share it with all teachers so they could benefit from it. I learned the joy of teamwork and collaboration in spite of our difficult circumstances.

 

When the 2022 school year started, I was excited that everything would go back to normal.

It did not.

At least I was able to teach in person, not online anymore. When the second semester started in January, I had four students who got COVID. I got COVID, too. I’ve been so scared that I would be responsible for giving it to my students. I am tired and tired of being scared. I hope everything will end soon and go back to normal.  


You can read other stories of Teaching Through the Pandemic here.

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