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Letter: Last year a student, this year a teacher

Letter to the Editor graphic
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I was a student at St. Olaf College in 2021 and became a K-12 Minnesota licensed teacher in 2022. This means half of my college education was during the pandemic, and my first year of teaching was the school year when students came back from distance learning.

A group of candidates running for school board this year insist that our district coddles students too much by providing too many supports and individualized attention therefore causing the issues facing our schools.

From my experience, this is simply not true.

Having been a pandemic student, I faced struggles I’d never faced before. I became a student who couldn’t sit more than 15 minutes while writing a paper. Social me became very anti-social. Fortunately, unlike others, I never worried about having food or if my housing would be taken from me.

Being a teacher this past year, my students couldn’t focus for a 45-minute class. Some had been living in a single hotel room for the whole school year. Others were getting a small bag of food to help pass the weekend.

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This wasn’t the world I saw while at JM in 2017, nor are the world and schools the same as pre-pandemic or when the candidates and their families attended school. As someone who was recently a student, holds a degree in education, and taught this past school year, I promise you: We must support students holistically; they will not and cannot learn otherwise. Vote with this in mind.

Read Karsell, Rochester

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