Teachers: The Unsung Heroes of Saint Joe High

Ms. McLinden in action as she teaches about Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Clare Keller , Staff Writer

When faced with suffering and despair, humanity has demonstrated its goodness time and time again, a truth especially relevant within the past year. Amidst a global pandemic, millions have willingly chosen to continue to serve the needs of others, no matter the cost it may present for themselves. These acts of selflessness and sacrifice are truly inspiring, and are observable on a daily basis right here in the Saint Joe community. Each day, the teachers and staff at Saint Joseph High School go above and beyond to educate the next generations, all while maintaining the warm and welcoming atmosphere Saint Joe has become known for. From navigating the transitions between various learning modes, to teaching in person in classrooms of students, educators have continuously prioritized their pupils, without a second thought. 

This incredible group of individuals take every obstacle that comes with teaching in a pandemic with grace, seeking to find the positives, despite the negatives.

English teacher Mrs. Smolinski commented on the upsides, “I get to see students when they’re really having to learn how to adapt. It’s amazing to see how students are able to just figure things out and as a teacher, that’s our main goal.”

Theology teacher Ms. McLinden expressed a positive that came specifically with mode 2 learning, saying, “There are a smaller number of students in the class, which means that I can actually make sure I hear from every single person.”

For McLinden, this development has allowed for students to feel more a part of the class, a huge benefit that was sometimes missed out on in classes with large numbers of students. Ms. Lamp, from the science department, added that this experience has been “a really good lesson in patience.” 

Despite the silver lining teachers have been able to find, they have also been forced to face numerous obstacles. When asked their greatest challenge this experience has presented, a lack of connection between themselves and their students seemed to be a common thread amongst teachers.

McLinden said that she really missed being and interacting with her students and that “it’s really difficult to read the room when there’s nobody in the room.”

Ms. Lamp’s experience is very similar to that of Ms. McLinden’s, who said that compared to previous years, she feels like she hasn’t been able to get to know her students at all. Mrs. Smolinski also noted specifically the toll remaining physically distant from her students has had and her inability to hug and high five them, things that had previously played a large role in cultivating a positive learning environment. 

The adversity these heroes have had to overcome is tremendous, yet many teachers are often left unappreciated and overlooked. Make sure to thank all of your teachers, as well as the administration, for all that they have done and sacrificed for you- it is more than you could ever imagine.