'Grieving what could have been': Kamloops school teacher reflects on pandemic year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Grieving what could have been': Kamloops school teacher reflects on pandemic year

A middle school band class in Kamloops is pictured in this submitted photo. Music students have been playing their instruments standing two meters apart, an example of one of many adjustments teachers have had to make during a pandemic school year.
Image Credit: SUMBITTED/Jarrett Schill
June 18, 2021 - 3:01 PM

Teachers in B.C. are wrapping up a challenging teaching year. Pandemic restrictions have reshaped classrooms and changed regular routines.

Teachers have had to do extra work to adapt as the pandemic restrictions grew and courses of action changed.

Jarrett Schill, a middle school music teacher in Kamloops, says due to the pandemic, this past year has been the most challenging one in his two decades of teaching.

“My mental health has not been optimal to say the least,” Schill said. “The hardest part for me was grieving what could not be. I had to realize that I needed to work in a sub-optimal learning environment and be OK with the results and OK with students not understanding what they were missing."

Many traditional school events, concerts and activities were cancelled over the past year.

"For me, it became a daily challenge to be motivated knowing all the fun things that usually happen in the school year weren’t going to be occurring," he said.

A big part of their anxiety came from worrying about the effects on students, he said. He had a choir and the annual band trip cancelled, among other activities.

“Student mental health has been visibly lower than ever, manifesting itself in so many ways,” Schill said.

“I really think the teenage population has had the hardest time dealing with all the limits this pandemic has placed on them and society. It has been frustrating for the students and myself, although health and safety must trump everything.”

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