The Effects of the Pandemic on Teachers

     Most people have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic in some way, maybe some more than others. Many people had different experiences throughout the pandemic. Many people’s lives have been turned upside down by this life-changing event. Teachers and students have had to go online and in person many times over the past couple of years. They have learned how to teach remotely and in person. 

     Trevor Parent is a high school adulting/leadership health teacher and Samantha Drost is a high school social studies teacher. Both have taught both pre- and post- pandemic.

Students and teachers learned how to adapt to the challenging times. They thought of new ways to keep people safe.

     Trevor Parent is a former student athlete. He graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2007 with an exercise science degree. Trevor has been teaching at the high school level for five years, but has been in the education field for 15 years. He has some perspectives on the effects of the pandemic in school. “It has affected teaching profoundly in both positive and negative ways. It emphasized the social climate issues, such as feeding students, sheltering students and having a safe environment for students–in other words… keeping kids safe.” Trevor also said, “My relationships with my students have been positively affected. When the students came back for in-person learning, relationships were more valued.” 

The Pressures We Experience

   People feel pressure for many different reasons throughout their lives. For example: to do well in school, to create the best painting, to pick the best fitting job. But for young people, one of the most stressful times can be during their senior year of high school. People are continually asking, “What college did you apply/get into?” “What major did you choose?” “Are you staying on campus or off campus?” “How many scholarships were you awarded?” Daisy Grant is currently a high school senior who has already decided which college she is going to attend. Audree Burtt is a senior in high school who has decided to become a travel certified nursing assistant after graduating. 

      Daisy is 18. She will be attending the University of Maine Farmington in the fall. She has a very close relationship with her family. But she is ready to take the next step in her life, which is college. Daisy explained what pressures affected her during senior year. “Probably the push for applying and filling out the different applications for colleges, and all the forms that go along with it. Such as FAFSA, writing essays and asking for recommendation letters.”  Sometimes parents will put a lot of pressure on their children during senior year. But Daisy’s parents had a different view. “There wasn’t a lot of pressure with what school I chose, as long as I got everything submitted on time and got into a good college.” 

Why Are They Important?

     Have you ever discovered something that you knew wasn’t right, but everyone around you was concealing it? In the film “All the President’s Men,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein  are two journalists covering the Watergate Burglary and scandal. They worked at the Washington Post. Bob Woodward is able to go into the courtroom and watch the proceedings

     At the beginning of the film, Bob Woodward is shown in the courtroom. He asks questions and sees a man who should not have been in the room. Woodward said, “Martin, are you here in connection to the Watergate Burglary?”  And the man said, “I’m not here.” Woodward goes on to ask questions, but doesn’t get any useful answers. Why would a man who isn’t related to the case be in the courtroom?

     Throughout the film, Woodward gets many leads that connect him to different people. He makes many calls and many people act suspiciously when he asks questions. Throughout the film, Bernstein and Woodward are following leads, and Ben Bradlee, their editor, is taking chances on them. Their bosses keep asking why they are following the story when they aren’t getting enough evidence.

What Is It Really Like for Others?

     Being at the right place, at the right time. Everything that happens in the photojournalism business is by being aware. Photojournalists have to be prepared at all times. The Pulitzer Prize is the highest award in journalism. When photojournalists take their Pulitzer winning photo, they are in the right place at the right time.

     The day of the Boston fire in 1976, Stanley Forman didn’t know that he would be witnessing such a tragedy. For him it was a normal day and he was taking in his surroundings. In the pictures, there are innocent and unknowing people who were about to experience a tragic incident. Forman said, “The little girl… she didn’t know anything.” The photos show a tragic accident. A little girl seems to be flying through the air, totally unknowing of her fate. Forman hadn’t planned this series of photos. It shows the different emotions and fates of others.

     A photo that The New York Times Staff took, on September 11, 2001, will last for generations. The photos show the twin towers. One plane has crashed into the south tower. The photo put millions of viewers on the scene. It is very important for history because it will show other generations the views of others. John White, from the Sun Times, describes what it is like to be a photojournalist. He said, “Every day we get a front seat to history.” 

Aiming for Justice

    Sometimes when serious illegal situations happen, the people who partake in them try to cover the incident up. In the film “Spotlight,” Robby Robinson, Mike Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll are all a part of the Boston Globe newspaper. But they are also a part of a special investigation team called Spotlight. The Boston Globe ends up getting a new editor, Marty Baron, who wants them to dig into a story that the Globe had overlooked years ago. The group is told to investigate a story about a priest who had been accused of molesting children. 

     At the beginning of the film, the Spotlight team was excited to pick up this new case. A hard part of this investigation was that the team did not have any databases at the time. They had to go to the library and ask around to get their information. The Spotlight team starts to investigate one of the stories behind one singular priest who had an allegation against him. He was a Catholic priest and was accused of molesting children. As the team worked on investigating this singular priest, it was like a dam broke open. The more they investigated one story, they found out that 12 other priests could have been molesting other children. The team started asking questions of the legal teams that had dealt with the cases. They had been dealt with under the table, not through the system. The questioning also led the team to believe that it could have been as many as 90 priests instead of 13. 

     Throughout the story, Rezendes finds an attorney who was working on behalf of the victims. He is able to sit down and talk with this attorney named Mitchell Garabedian. Rezendes had tried to ask Garabedian some questions, but it was all mostly confidential. Garabedian said, “But they’re no better than us. Look at how they raise their children. Mark my words Mr. Rezendes, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” 

     Although Garabedian is not allowed to give out much information about his clients, he just gave away a crucial piece of information. Garabedian just showed that it was not just one priest who is molesting children. When looking into previous cases, the team is able to talk to Richard Sipe, a former priest who had been studying this behavior for decades. He said, “But the fact remains that this creates a culture of secrecy that tolerates and even protects pedophiles.” The man went on to say that the Catholic Church had been notified that that priest pedophilia was a billion-dollar liability. 

     The team went around interviewing the victims. Without their statements, they wouldn’t have been able to get a story. One of the women said, “It was a lot of pressure to keep quiet” A reporter asked, “From the church?” The woman replied, “Yeah from the church…. But not just the church… from my friends, from the other parishioners.” The victims were told not to say anything about the situation. The Spotlight team was able to interview many people and get the information they needed. There were even priests who confessed to committing the crimes.   

     Before this film, few people would have been aware of this issue. If a viewer watches the film, it will talk about the people in situations wanting to keep everything “concealed.” This means that the church did not want a lot of people to hear about it. By watching this film, viewers will see how important journalists and media are to our society and country. This film shows that victims of assault and abuse often get overlooked and do not get justice. Viewers will learn that sometimes journalists must go against what the public is saying to get the real story. The people who partook in the situation will do their best to cover it up. This is why investigative journalists are so important. They show what is happening behind closed doors.  

     Each investigative journalist, including Robby, Mike, Sacha and Matt, had to give up some sort of relationship. They each had to give up on the story they had been working on at the beginning of the film. All of the special investigative journalists had to give up their reputations and not listen to the public’s opinion to work on this story. Each person on the special team gained the respect they had lost from the people questioning them. While investigating this story, each member of Spotlight had lost respect of the public because they would not let this story go. But by the end of the film, the Spotlight team had earned respect for getting the details of this case. Everyone on the Spotlight team wanted to bring justice to all of the people who had been so wronged when they were little children. 

UMPI Has a New Synchronized Swimming Team?

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle has many Division III sports. Everyone knows the basketball teams and baseball team. But Julie Baker wanted another sport to compete in. Julie has been swimming for years, but she recently saw the summer Olympics, so she wanted to try synchronized swimming. Sam Rulen is the new team captain for synchronized swimming. They started the program together.

The lake that Julie learned how to swim, which led her to start her own team.

     Julie grew up in Aroostook County and there were not a lot of resources to start a synchronized swimming team. But Julie was prepared to start the team because she grew up doing gymnastics. Gymnastics equips her with the skills to do in her synchronized swimming routine. Sam also grew up taking these classes, not knowing how she would use them in the future.

     Julie and Sam are continually getting asked questions about synchronized swimming. Julie said, “Well, I have been swimming since I was younger. But recently I wanted to start trying to make a team.” Sam said, “We usually practice at Gentle Hall. But in the summer we go down to East Grand Lake as a team group.” Julie and her team have not been to a competition yet, but they are just getting started. 

     Many people ask Julie why she is so passionate about swimming and making a team. Julie said, “Well, swimming is something that I have done for years. I learned to swim before I learned to ride a bike.” Julie added on, “I brought this sport to our school because I wanted to bring swimming and a team sport together. With synchronized swimming, you have to trust that your team members are doing the right thing.” Sam added, “I agree. You work hard all season and you have to trust your teammates enough. Because if you don’t, then there is no point.”

Why Is Switching Majors Common?

     From a young age, children often hear that before going to college they should pick a career that they would want to pursue. But people tend to change their interests as they grow. So then why would people stick to a single career or major, when it was something they picked a year ago? Why would students stick with a major that they are no longer passionate about? Becca Howlett is a second year college student who changed her major her sophomore year. 

As a young college freshman, people tend to have trouble making up there minds. As college students we should be able to know that we can change things that aren’t the right fit for us.

     Becca was able to answer the hard questions that every student thinks about. Why did you really switch your major? Becca said, “I found myself seeing my first major’s topics as a chore. So instead I switched to a topic I still had a passion for and I knew I was good at.” This response is something that many students also feel. Not only does Becca state the problem, but she also shows a well-rounded reasoning for switching majors. 

     Another reason that students switch majors is finding a career that they are actually passionate about. Becca was able to find a whole-hearted reason behind her major. Becca said, “My main goal is to be a teacher, whether it be at a high school or college level.” Becca also explained that she chose this new major and career because of her own freshman math teacher. Her math teacher inspired her to give people time to understand the problem and learn at their own pace. That is the type of teacher Becca aspires to be.