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Teachers over 50 are hopeful they can receive the COVID-19 vaccine soon

Teachers have renewed energy knowing those who are 50 and over will get the COVID-19 vaccine soon.

But that won’t take the strain off the parent-teacher relationship.

While they understand the pressure so many parents feel, teachers say many parents don’t see their struggle, too.

Erica Orjuela said it’s been tough delivering a valuable education this year.

“The challenges of engaging students, trying to keep them motivated,” Orjuela said. “It’s not what anybody signed up for.”

Orjuela said it’s not fun teaching from home in front of a screen. Orjuela was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma last year, making it even harder.

“It’s really hard to breathe and stand and sit now that that the nodes that have cancer have grown,” Orjuela said.

Orjuela said she worries some parents don’t realize what teachers face every day. Every school day is a challenge.

“Sometimes the emails from the parents just come off hurtful,” she said.

She’s not alone in those feelings. Kevin Daly, the president of the Lee County Teachers Association, agrees.

“Grace and empathy and compassion are what we’d like to see all around,” Daly said.

Lots of teachers are also parents, Daly said. He is a parents and can relate too.

“I understand completely from the parental perspective of watching your child not be as successful as they would be in a different setting, we watch that firsthand,” Daly said.

Orjuela said she hopes her struggle reminds parents they’re not alone in theirs.

“My favorite part is the relationships I get to build with my children this year,” Orjuela said. “That’s just been a challenge like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”

Daly said teachers who can teach in person are in the building. Almost 70,000 of the 90,000 students in Lee County are back in classrooms.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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