A New Year For A New Teacher

A New Year For A New Teacher

Jozlyn Jorgenson, Assistant Editor

2020 has been full of changes, life has become uncertain for many, and struggles are not uncommon. Learning how to overcome the curveballs life throws can be hard.

Timothy Schuett has been teaching since 2007, but 2020 was his first time teaching at Erie High School. This year has presented its challenges, but Schuett does not intend to let that get the best of him. He intends to come out on the other side. “How you respond to challenges has so much to do with [how you] set your outlook [on] everything.” expressed Schuett.

Like many, mental health has been one of the challenges he has had to deal with. “I have never before experienced stress and anxiety, and things like that.” Schuett continues, “I never was a very anxious or stressed out person before the pandemic but, I definitely am now.”

The causes of stress are different for everyone, but one thing is common. Schuett explains, “The very act of change is stressful. [For] some people, it is not [as] stressful, for other people they do not adapt well to change. This year is completely different than anything we have had before, students and teachers alike.” For Mr. Schuett, this stress has led to some different results.

One result is overthinking as Schuette describes, “So much just feels like it is completely out of your hands. So many of these problems feel like they are so much bigger than you, and you feel as though you have little agency to solve these problems. I sometimes catch myself stopping and wondering ‘are the good days behind us? Is this like what the beginning of the end looks like?” Overthinking is so easy to do, and sometimes it can become consuming, making it hard to think about anything else.

This kind of worry can pop up from anywhere, and for Mr. Schuett, it came in the little things, “[I] was trying to do some home improvement projects over the summer, and the timelines for everything got dragged out literally for months. Another instance was trying to get a permit through Boulder County. That whole permitting process [was] so slow because of the wildfires. It is just frustrating because you are sitting there looking at a pile of stuff that you paid for and it’s just kind of sitting outside. You have no idea when anything is going to happen because, again, all these things are kind of beyond your control and beyond your ability to know.” explains Schuette.

Over time, the little things begin to add up and can definitely cause harm to one’s mental health. But, not one to give up, Mr. Schuett has been working on ways to overcome the stress of daily life. One of these ways has been focusing on the present Schuett expresses, “[You can] either choose to let [everything] stress you out further, when everybody is already at a really high-stress level or [you can], if nothing else, at least ignore it for today. That is a strategy I have had to use a lot lately. If I look too far down the road, there is just so much lined up, so just focusing sometimes on today, like ‘what is the thing that I can do today?’ will help. Let us talk about tomorrow tomorrow.” 

Sometimes though, the effects of this pandemic are not just mental. Being stuck inside a house all day can mess with a person’s physical health. For Mr. Schuett, this came in the form of insomnia, “right when the pandemic started, I was having a super hard time sleeping – not falling asleep, but I would be up at between 1:30 and 2:30 every morning, and then I would just [stay] up. This was when everything was shut down [and] it was not like I had anywhere to go or anything to do.” outlined Schuett. 

Lack of sleep at best is inconvenient, and at worst can harm a person. But in this modern age, one can easily seek help for things like this. Schuett explains, “It is the 21st century now, so asking for help, sometimes, is as easy as looking up an app that is going to help you with that. The Calm app was really helpful to help me get past that little insomnia period.”

Going through tough times alone is not always the best solution. Help is something everyone needs from time to time, for you cannot know everything. Mr. Schuett demonstrates this with his own life, being a new teacher at Erie High School.

“Starting here, [there] was a definite increase in uncertainty. It was not until just a few days before I was supposed to start work that I found out we were going to start remote.” Schuett continues, “Fortunately, there are some  amazing teachers here at Erie, who were able to give me a lot of support and help me come on board.”

Not only is being able to ask for help necessary but being able to talk things through with others is important. Schuett describes, “Collaborating with and talking through some of the challenges we were going to face with remote learning and making adjustments to the previous curriculum, to try and adapt to a hybrid model, was super beneficial and this made the transition here a very easy one.”

2020 has been a year filled with new challenges and change, none of which have been easy. But, just because something is not easy does not mean it cannot be overcome. Mr. Schuett, like many, has had to learn how to help keep himself healthy, both mentally and physically during this unprecedented time.