The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

Perspective: Teachers Are Trying Their Hardest

Mallory Meister
Screenshot of a typical Webex classroom


Covid-19, or coronavirus,  has swept through America. The continental US diagnosed the first cases in January and February 2020 and Hawai’i received it’s first case on March 20. The local spread of Covid-19 caused all public and private schools in Hawai’i to close, forcing students to learn from their homes and teachers to adjust their lesson plans for the rest of the year.

At Punahou, classes are being conducted differently by every teacher in every department. Students and teachers are currently trying to adapt to this new style of school, with mixed emotions. At first, I believed that certain teaching methods were working better than others, but I have realized that even though it may be hectic and a big adjustment, every teacher at Punahou is trying their best to teach students. 

Every subject has had to be adjusted to accommodate distance learning. Shari Smart, a Lifetime Fitness teacher stated that they are “changing curriculum from top to bottom. We have changed everything.” 

Jessie Lathrop, European History teacher described the situation as “emergency teaching.” There is no questioning that the pandemic has been hard on everyone, yet these teachers have been working tirelessly to make it easier on us students. Every one of my teachers has been extremely understanding, accommodating, kind, and patient during class time, office hours, and when responding to our emails. 

It’s very easy to pity ourselves and feel like we have lost milestones in our lives, especially as seniors, but we have to realize that the teachers are grieving their routines too. Teachers chose their profession to interact with students every day and shape them into young adults, and now that has been taken away from them.

When asked if students take advantage of office hours, Ms. Lathrop, Mrs. Smart, Mr. Scott Leitner  (Academy Math department head) and Dr. Kira Krend (AP Biology teacher) have all said only a handful do, and they all wish that more would. They enjoy seeing their kids and wish they could see them more often. Since we are using a modified schedule, teachers only see their class sections once a week, usually only for about half an hour. 

Teachers have also had to work harder than usual to keep students engaged during distance learning. Mr. Leitner stated that it is more difficult to tell whether a student is engaged or not online. I know that all of my teachers are working extremely hard to engage their students, some use games, small groups, discussions, and extra credit to engage their students. 

Despite the challenges that come with distance learning, teachers are also looking on the bright side and have noticed positives. Dr. Krend said that some positives are “students are getting more sleep, which is good for learning and health. And they are spending more quality time with family, which is great.” Ms. Lathrop said that students now get to work at their own pace, and get to learn better time management skills, which is beneficial in the long-run. 

While it is so easy to criticize the things we don’t like, we need to remember that we are all in this together. Nothing about these past few months has been ideal for anyone, but we need to be grateful for those that are making it just a little easier. We are all navigating through this together, and our teachers have been amazing examples in the Punahou community.


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