WASHINGTON — Sarah Dawson is a Washington High School science teacher and recently graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dawson grew up in Riverside. After high school, she got an bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology and art at the University of Iowa.
A few years later, she decided to return to school to become a teacher.
“I thought about it in undergrad, but the thought of decided your career at age 19 is kind of terrifying,” she said.
Dawson student-taught at Washington High School from January until March.
She was supposed to travel abroad to New Zealand for the last half of the semester, but a week before she was set to leave, it was canceled.
Washington offered for her to student teach for the remainder of the semester, but that only lasted an additional week.
Coming into her first year as a teacher, Dawson said her biggest fear was not being able to meet the students face-to-face.
Because this is her first year, she has to create all new lesson plans and materials. This year adds the additional work of making sure those lessons are adapted to the mitigation strategies.
“It’s another level of difficulty,” she said.
As a science teacher, Dawson said it is challenging to keep student distanced and not share tools.
“We are taught doing science is what helps you learn it the best,” she said.
Dawson said she makes sure kids are not sharing items and if they are, the items are sanitized.
With all of the challenges, Dawson said she is grateful to be in-person with the students and in a district where she is familiar with some of the teachers and the community.
– Caitlin Yamada
“We are taught doing science is what helps you learn it the best.”
Sarah Dawson, high school science teacher