An open letter to my teachers


Sally Parampottil

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have had to adjust lesson plans, rework curriculums and do their job virtually, miles away from most – if not all – of their students. The Sidekick executive editor-in-chief Sally Parampottil expresses her empathy and gratitude towards her teachers, who are doing their best during these trying times.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

To my teachers this school year, 

I am sorry. I truly am. 

I know this isn’t the year you wanted either. Dealing with a pandemic as an educator is something I can only imagine being beyond difficult, from having to rework lesson plans to solving technology problems to trying to console masses of virtual students who are all dealing with mental fatigue and burnout. 

This was the year I was most excited about as a student for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest ones was that I would only be taking classes I genuinely wanted to take. Some dual credit courses ensured the only required credits I would need were ones that aligned with my desired classes. Just as I hate the fact that those classes are now taught through a screen, the other side of that screen must feel the same way. 

Lectures come from laptop speakers. Instruction is dependent on stable WiFi. A newly renovated school sits with minimal interaction, as more than two-thirds of the student population is learning from home. 

It breaks my heart just as much as yours. 

I’m sorry especially for when class relies on student participation. When half the class is in their beds and the other half is multitasking to the max, it doesn’t always make for the most vivid of discussions. The awkward silence that fills the Zoom whenever you ask a question – even something as simple as “how was your weekend?” – is uncomfortable for all of us. 

It’s not from a lack of effort on your part; it’s clear you’re doing your best to keep us engaged. If it makes you feel any better, it’s not that I don’t care or that I don’t know. Sometimes, it’s just nerves that hold me back from speaking.

I’m not a person who talks a lot in class to begin with. Asking or answering questions in front of a group is intimidating, and it’s even worse over Zoom, when you never have the chance to build bonds with your classmates, and the only people you feel comfortable around are those you knew from previous years. If I feel really bad and the class is really quiet, then I’ll occasionally chime in to compensate for the others, but I know it isn’t enough to simulate a real discussion. 

To my teachers whom I have for only the first semester, I’m sorry I won’t ever sit in your classrooms. You won’t know the loud sound of my typing (as my aggressive fingers pounding on an already loud Surface Pro 5 keyboard makes a good amount of noise) or the sight of my handwriting (whichalwayslookslikeIneverspacemywords). 

For my teachers who have me year-round (and the one teacher who has me for second semester only), I hope things go back to something resembling normal before I graduate. I miss school the way it was before these difficult, unprecedented, whatever-you-want-to-call-them times hit. 

To all my teachers, I appreciate you. Teaching is one of the most important yet unacknowledged jobs in America, and the additional burden falling on your shoulders this year must make everything so much worse. There was a lot of reworking curriculums, a lot of cleaning between passing periods and a lot of silence in near-empty classrooms involved thus far, and I don’t know how much longer this reality will last. 

I can’t change the way this year has been, but I want you to at least know you still inspire me. 

Years in the future, when I’m teaching – because yes, my dream career is to become an American history professor – I will think back to the resilient teachers who didn’t give up or slack off despite a global pandemic. I will think of you: the ones who worked hard to give us an education even when we were miles apart, the ones who put up with technology issues on a daily basis, the ones who proved their value to society once again when the job is already tragically underappreciated. 

I’m sorry this year has sucked. You deserve better, just like the rest of us. And if – no, when, I see you in person, I hope you recognize me when I’m not in my pajamas. 


Sally Parampottil 

Follow Sally Parampottil (@SParampottil) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.