'I don't think any year will be harder than this'

Coronavirus steepens learning curve for first-year teachers

Being a first-year teacher is stressful.

Converting lessons from college classes into real-world classrooms is always a challenge.

Unlike veteran teachers who have years and years of lesson plans they can use, novice teachers make it up as they go, sometimes with help from mentors, sometimes on their own.

And many 2020 teaching college graduates missed the student-teaching experience, which usually takes place in the spring of their senior year but were canceled because Iowa schools were closed due to the pandemic.

This year’s crop of new teachers is facing challenges like never before.

Not only are they facing the daunting task of coming up with lesson plans every day, these teachers are forced to confront planning for in-person classes and teaching students who are taking their classes online.

How do you establish relationships with students who are only seen on a computer screen?

On top of all that, going to school every day exposes all teachers to catching a disease from their students or colleagues, a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States.

Southeast Iowa Union reporters reached out to five first-year teachers and talked with them about the challenges they face in their new careers.