WELLMAN – Hannah Halstead, a first-year fourth-grade teacher at Mid-Prairie West Elementary in Wellman, knew this school year was going to be a challenge.
“I don’t think any year will be harder than this, knock on wood,” she said. “Being a first-year teacher is hard enough on its own. Being a first-year teacher with COVID, every year has got to be a little easier. The planning and prep work will probably never be as stressful as it is now.”
This month, the district added a 90-minute early out to every week the rest of the semester to help teachers with the extra workload.
“You have a lot of kids who are quarantining, and you’re preparing work for them,” she said. “So sometimes, it feels kind of overwhelming to do all those extra things on top of being in school all day.”
Halstead saw her semester of student teaching at Coralville Central Elementary interrupted by COVID-19 pandemic this spring.
“I was really nervous when I started, because I only got about halfway through (student teaching) when we stopped for COVID,” Halstead said.
However, she felt well prepared for her first year of full-time teaching after graduating from the University of Iowa in May.
“We started in the classroom in my first year in the teaching program at Iowa, up until my last practicum,” she said.
– James Jennings
“So sometimes, it feels kind of overwhelming to do all those extra things on top of being in school all day.”
Hannah Halstead, fourth-grade teacher