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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    New teachers face unprecedented challenges

    First-year teacher Mr. Christopher Smith, SJ, poses in front of the altar on the school chapel. (Photo by Jesse Dolojan)
    First-Year Teacher Daniel Lawrey poses for a photoshoot. (Photo from Mr. Conrad Singh)
    by Jesse Dolojan – 

    The pandemic has caused a lot of missed opportunities for otherwise normal experiences. The same can be said for the new teachers at Gonzaga. They have had to teach remotely and in hybrid, sometimes never having seen some of their students’ faces. Despite these setbacks, much of the new faculty is making the most of what they have. 

    I honestly give thanks to God because this was such a lovely place with so many resources and support,” said Mr. Christopher Smith, SJ, biology and chemistry teacher who joined Gonzaga’s teaching staff this year. 

    Connecting with students and fellow faculty members presented itself as a challenge in the midst of a pandemic, but thankfully, some have been able to anyway.  

    “I feel like I have been very welcomed, which has been awesome,” said Ms. Kate Griffith, math teacher. “I feel like I’ve gotten an essence of what Gonzaga is like.” 

    Teachers have found various ways to grow closer to each other. For example, a small group of teachers actually grew up practically in each others’ backyards and are Philadelphia sports enthusiasts, a group that continues to grow with each passing year.  

    “It’s funny because Mr. Tarpey, myself and then Mr. Every were from relatively the same area,” said Mr. Daniel Lawrey, math teacher.  “Mr. Bevilacqua actually grew up not too far from where I live. So, you know, it’s very interesting.” 

    In addition to cheering on their sports teams, other teachers took up cooking during quarantine, delving into various dishes and foods. 

    “I got really into cooking,” said Mr. Andrew Wood, band teacher.  “I got the New York Times cooking app and basically started cooking through everything that I could find.” 

    Mr. Wood was not alone, as other teachers made their own dishes and were more than willing to share their advice. 

    “One piece of advice I’ve sort of learned over the past few years is that I’ve sort of learned over the past few months if you’re shopping […] just go through the aisles and see if there is something interesting,” Mr. Lawrey said. “Something you haven’t really cooked before and see what happens.”  

    While appreciative of everything Gonzaga is doing to make school possible, many teachers realize that Gonzaga could be much more without so many covid restrictions. Many teachers have put in effort to do what they can to make this year as fulfilling as possible. 

    “I’m really excited for what’s to come next. You know when you guys actually come back to campus and we have everyone here,” Mr. Lawrey said. “It’s really great. I’m really excited.”

    Even during these stressful times, they are all glad to teach somewhere like Gonzaga and view each day as a gift. 

    “The biggest grace of my day, every day, is the time that I spend here with my students,” Mr. Smith, SJ, said. “I absolutely love teaching here. I absolutely love the kids that I teach, and it brings me joy and purpose to my life.“

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    • S

      Sra. KeiserFeb 8, 2021 at 10:44 am

      I appreciate you recognizing the new teachers at Gonzaga. Their situation is far from easy so thank you for highlighting some of them.

    • C

      Carol CorganFeb 7, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      I enjoyed this article very much, Jesse. Thank you!
      Mrs. Corgan