What We Don’t See after School

Saul Lopez Vargas

Students  don’t get to see what teachers do outside of class. Teachers have not had a lot of time with mental health,  Covid and pay. For example, I interviewed a couple teachers about their home and work life. In the article, Teachers Are Barely Hanging On. Here’s What They Need,  Mrs. White, a teacher,  stated, “After giving it a try for a semester with a newborn and a lot of support from home, I decided to step away from the classroom for a few years, knowing there was no way I could be a great teacher and a great mother at the same time.” According to Ms. Sorensen, a SPASH teacher, when asked how it is to be a single mother and teacher, Ms. Sorensen replied “I feel like I have become a stronger teacher because I understand my students and the families I work with that are going through difficult times. I also try to get as much work done during the school day as possible since my son needs 100 percent of my time at home. However, there are days that are hard and I just want to burst out crying.” This means that it’s hard to be a teacher, to be normal in front of people, act like everything is normal and to be happy in front of students and teachers. 


Teachers need to deal with time. According to the article, Teachers Are Barely Hanging On. Here’s What They Need, teachers have never had enough time to do their jobs well. “This has been a problem for generations, but it’s gotten worse in recent years as standardized testing has become the end-all-be-all for measuring success. Pre-COVID, there was already no margin for error, no extra space or time for most teachers to thoughtfully plan,” Teachers are working really hard, but it’s been hard coming back five  days a week. We thought everything would go back to normal, but we are still dealing with some of the issues.


Teachers need to deal with collaboration, and assess student work. I asked 10 teachers if they believe they get paid enough for the work that they do. Two teachers said yes they get paid enough, but other teachers would like to get paid a little more. Mr. Vollendorf explained that our district’s pay is comparable to other districts in the area. We have some brand new teachers making in the 40,000 dollar range and veteran teachers making over 80,000 dollar range. It depends on years of experience and licensure (master’s degree). Mr. Vollendorf said the qualities that make a good teacher are “someone who loves working with students, someone who loves learning, someone who believes that all students can succeed, and someone who has a sincere passion for their content area.”

Mental health

 Have you noticed if the mental health (depressed, anxious) of teachers is declining at SPASH? Mr. Vollendorf said, “I don’t know if i would say it’s declining , but the last two years have been new and have required teachers to do things differently and teachers had a lot of adjustments to make. Just like students had to adjust. It was hard for everyone in different ways. Some people may not have been as good   with technology. It was hard for teachers to not have students in their classrooms because that’s not how our school is designed to work. There are a lot of people right now that are really hurting because of the pandemic. They lost jobs, had to move, had families split up. It’s important that everyone is together and here.” Mr. Vollendorf explained that our district has people at school that are willing to talk to teachers. We have something called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is basically any employee who needs social/emotional/mental support through counseling can get it for free and it’s confidential.