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Behind the Vac-Scene: Leah Ottey feels hopeful for a vaccinated future, in and out of school
Experiences with the COVID-19 vaccine
April 2, 2021
“When you see the huge line of people that are also getting [the coronavirus vaccine], it feels like this finally is going to be coming to a close. You’re like, oh, I’m just one of like 6000 people that got this today,” Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) Spanish teacher, Mrs. Leah Ottey, recounts her experience getting her first dose of the vaccine in Feb.
To get this vaccine appointment, Ottey eagerly monitored the website with her best friend.
“We both were checking the site, but she was going to check the website […] every hour, so right when she saw the appointment she texted me and we all got in, and then I texted other teachers and we all made [appointments]. So I got a lot of people [vaccine appointments],” said Ottey.
The experience getting the shot was memorable:
“We had a National Guard and a paramedic give the shot and they were both really funny. They had us take pictures and then the guy posts behind us like he was gonna stab us. But it didn’t hurt,” said Ottey.
As someone who prioritizes human interaction, distanced learning has been challenging for her”
But what was even more important was the possibilities that getting vaccinated would bring in her professional and personal life.
“I’m lucky that I have a lot of friends that are also going to be vaccinated because they’re either nurses, other essential workers, teachers or grocery store people. So I’m just so excited to see my friends that are vaccinated,” she said.
As a World Language teacher Ottey prioritizes communication and talking to students in their target language. As someone who prioritizes human interaction, distanced learning has been challenging for her.
“[I miss] talking to students, and not talking to a blank screen […] Making it engaging for students, making it interactive, and getting students to speak [is more difficult]. You have a lot less control over what students are doing, and it’s harder to monitor. I can’t see what’s behind your screen. I don’t know if you’re paying attention to the notes,” she said.
There’s a silver lining in her experience. The environment remote learning provides shows the rigor in the way DVHS functioned pre-COVID.
“I do think this way of life has kind of taught people a little bit about balance and realize that I think things are a little over the top at Dougherty, academic wise,” she said, “I think this has kind of forced teachers and students to slow down a bit and just pick what’s essential and do the important stuff, rather than go 100 miles per hour all the time.”
She hopes that everyone’s experience with remote learning proves to be a learning moment for teachers and students alike when returning to school full time in the future.
“It’s hard to change the culture because I do think also when people come back. there’s gonna feel this pressure to get back up to speed and it might have the reverse effect whereas hopefully we can all remember that it is important to maintain a calmer pace in school,” she said.