Back to School: First-year teacher hopes to help students love school despite pandemic challenges

Back to School

OLIVEHURST, Calif. (KTXL) — There is excitement all around as kids head back to school, but it can be a trying time for even the most experienced teachers.

So, how are new educators approaching this year? 

Alyssa Lattuca will soon be welcoming fourth graders at Arboga Elementary School in Olivehurst. 

It will be her first day as a full-time teacher, and if you think starting mid-way through the pandemic is a challenge, Lattuca began her career as a substitute teacher in 2019, just before the pandemic. 

She’s had to be flexible her entire teaching career.

Lattuca recognizes that uncertainty from the pandemic and all of its domino effects linger. She hopes she’ll still be able to get the full experience of a first-time teacher.

“I’m really hoping I kind of get a chance to figure everything out the same way that people got to before everything went crazy,” she shared.

But, Lattuca recognizes the crazy actually strengthened her skills, and though her career so far has been short, she can say with certainty, she knows how to be flexible and work under pressure. 

And, while Marysville Joint Unified School District is back to full-time, in-person learning, Yuba County continues to have one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the state.

“I personally feel like all the regulations that have been put in place have made me extremely comfortable. I’m excited to kind of slowly move back into norms,” Latucca told FOX40.

She knows that’s going to be easier for some students than for others. Lattuca was able to do a virtual meet and greet earlier, and some of her kids haven’t been back to in-person learning since the start of the pandemic.

“I had a couple who were worried about, they hadn’t had a chance to even socially work with people again,” Lattuca said. “And, I’m also a new teacher to this school this year, so I’m hoping just getting them used to a social environment is my goal.”

Once Lattuca does that, she hopes to focus on her main goal: inspiring a love for learning, particularly reading, with her students. She hopes that freed from anxiety, the students can focus on being successful.

“I really hope that this year I get a chance to help them fall in love with reading. I know it’s gotten real scary especially with everything online. I hope that they leave my classroom loving school and not being scared of of learning,” Lattuca said.

She also has some hopes and goals for herself. Lattuca told FOX40 she feels prepared for whatever this year brings, but she hopes that it will be ordinary enough that she gets the normal experience of a first-year teacher.

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