Teachers share what they miss from pre-pandemic life


Photo Submitted by Chris Michalides

Chris Michalides, science teacher, gives a thumbs-up in his “secret lair” in 2016. “I have accepted pandemic life,” he said. “Used to it? Not so much.”

William Fisher, Staff Reporter

The pandemic has dramatically affected the lives of everyone, not only changing things in our lives, but taking some things away entirely– for better or for worse.

Chris Michalides, science teacher, said the thing he has missed the most during the pandemic has been car shows. 

I have a classic Pontiac that I drive to area shows,” he said. “I typically drive it 3,000 miles per year. This year I used it less than 200.” 

The approximate difference of 2,800 fewer miles driven between a typical year and this year demonstrates how much COVID-19 has affected all areas of our lives.

Joanna Rodriguez, administrative assistant to the assistant principal of student services, misses social gatherings over a meal. 

“I miss having lunch or dinner with my friends to just talk and laugh,” she said. “Sometimes you just need that time to vent and feel better.”

Rebecca Plaza, the Library Information Specialist, said she misses discussing books with students. 

“Talking about good books with students that come to the library for such– we have such a great reading culture here at MHS,” she said.

This pandemic has shown to many that even the loss of the simplest things, such as talking with others, can be something drastically missed. 

The spread of Covid-19 has also led to the missing of many places as so many have had to close their doors to their frequent visitors. 

“Barnes and Noble in my town closed,” Plaza said, who also added she misses traveling, particularly road trips.  

The places Michalides has missed the most were movie theaters. 

“Movies are an interactive social experience in which patrons laugh, cry and cheer together,” he said. 

This emotion-sharing experience between friends and strangers has been something many have given up in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Rodriguez said she felt the loss of the mall the most. 

“I miss going to the mall just to walk around and going to the food court after to find a snack,” she said. “It is something I liked to do after having a long week.”

Teachers have also found themselves missing things they didn’t think they would.

For example, Rodriguez missed her daily routine. 

“I really did not think I would miss having my morning and daily routines,” she said. “I realized how important it is for one to have structure and routines; it helps me personally get organized with my day and know what to expect. I thought I would be fine working with whatever the day threw at me and go with it not knowing day by day what was next, but it has been hard.”

The disappearance of in-person learning at MHS has also led to the loss of in-person labs, which Michalides misses. 

“Conducting labs with students– I took for granted how vital they are in deepening student understanding of science principles,” he said. “Watching it on Zoom is less impactful.”

Teachers have also come to realize that the loss of some things due to the pandemic does not have to be negative. 

Michalides stated the loss of commuting allowed him to do more. 

“I save 90 minutes per day staying home,” he said. “This is like refunding one school day per week to improve my lessons, invest in myself and help my kids with their schooling.”

Rodriguez did not miss the chaos of morning rushes. 

“I really don’t miss scrambling every morning– helping everyone get ready for their day, screaming to find shoes and stressing to make it on time,” she said.

The loss of visiting certain places also has not always brought gloom.

Rodriguez said she has not missed her spouse’s work get-togethers. 

“I do not miss going to my husband’s work parties/events,” she said. “I do not know many people there, and it can be a little awkward.”

Shopping has changed dramatically during the pandemic as more and more people choose to just buy things online, so Michalides said he does not miss the shopping experience. 

“I don’t miss malls,” he said. “I was never a big in-person shopper.”

Although there are aspects to pre-pandemic life teachers don’t miss, they shared what they look forward to the most once COVID-19 has been handled.  

Michalides is looking forward to traveling once the pandemic is over. 

“We had planned to visit Europe for my wife’s 50th birthday,” he said. 

Plaza had one word to say to represent what she looks forward to.

“STUDENTS, STUDENTS, STUDENTS,” she stated in all caps in an e-mail.

She also added she looks forward to talking about good books with students who visit the library. 

So many great titles have come out during the pandemic,” she said. “Talking about books lights up my heart!“ 

Rodriguez looks forward to cooking for her friends and family again. 

“I really look forward to hosting anything in my house, having my friends and family over, so I can cook a great big meal,” she said. “I really just miss seeing everyone together laughing and enjoying the food I make from my heart.”

She also said she looks forward to seeing family members again.

 “I am really looking forward to seeing my mother since she lives in California; we usually see each other twice a year. She comes to visit, and I go to visit her,” Rodriguez said.

Michalides also spoke of his excitement to see his family after the pandemic is managed.

“I haven’t visited [my parents] as often to prevent transmitting COVID,” he said. “They are healthy, and I’m doing my part to protect them.”