Spread Out, Spread Thin

Covid-19 brings new stresses to teachers


Photo: Callie Hollis

The library sits empty as Ms. Allison works before the sophomore lunch crowd.

“Keep your distance!”

“Spread out!”

“Watch your wingspan!”

In normal years, Collierville campus librarian Ms. Leah Allison doesn’t spend her time yelling these things.

“All I feel like I’m saying is ‘spread out, put your mask on, spread out, put your mask on,’” Ms. Allison said. “That just makes me feel grumpy.”

A new aspect of Ms. Allison’s job is making sure kids watch their distance, which may not be what she signed up for. 

“I got into being a school librarian because I like being in a school library and because I like having kids hanging out in the library,” Ms. Allison said. “It’s a safe space.” 

Now the space has changed as the stacks are closed and students are checking out books online instead of in person. Though there may still be a way to enjoy the library without even being inside of it. 

“I would like to have an online virtual book club and as soon as I can slow down my days a little,” Ms. Allison Said. “Then I’ll get that information out cause that’s just gotta happen. It’s just gotta.”

The library isn’t the only place feeling the pressure of the new changes.

English teacher Ms. Leanne Ricketson is also adjusting to new protocols as the time available for planning her classes has been shortened by the new schedule.

“[Teachers] are having to work a lot at night, work on the weekends a lot, figure out when we can squeeze time here or there,” she said. “St. George’s used to provide plenty of time for teachers to plan really good lessons. We’re getting it done, but it’s making life really difficult.” 

Even though some teachers may be working harder than they were last year with less time, robotics teacher Ms. Crista Smothers is still grateful for the chance to work in-person at all. 

“As uncertain as everything has been, I think [the teachers and administration] are all being very understanding of each other, are all willing to help each other, we’re all figuring this out together,” she said. “It’s exhausting, it’s tiring, there’s so much going on but it’s still good to be here.”