Teaching During the Pandemic is Rife with Struggles—for Teachers and Students Alike.

By Erin Gabriel
Illustrations by Kelcie McKenney

CW: Trauma and abuse

“A good teacher is like a candle, that consumes itself to light the way for others.” 

– Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

This quote is often haphazardly thrown around in the teaching profession by well-intentioned people trying to highlight how essential the role of a teacher is. However, I cannot think of any other profession, other than healthcare workers—who are paid significantly better than teachers—where you are expected to “consume” yourself to be considered great or even just good at your job. 

This is my fourth year teaching, and I am just about to turn 26. As someone young and still relatively new to the profession, I’m not surprised I ended up here. I always had a firm idea that I’d be in a helping field—plus it didn’t hurt that all the personality and career tests I took listed teaching as a top profession for me. I excelled in school (besides math which literally made me puke), and enjoyed the organization of it all, the comfort of routine, and the opportunity education afforded me. Plus, I’ve always been an avid reader, so I felt that made me uniquely suited to teach English. Overall, most teachers get into teaching for one of two reasons: They love the idea of teaching the content or they love the idea of building relationships with students. I fit into the latter category. 

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