First-year teacher prepares to build immune system while teaching in pandemic

First-year teacher prepares to build immune system while teaching in pandemic

NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - Many newly licensed college graduates are entering the education field to change lives for the better.

But, with any career, challenges will arise, and for first-year teachers, that includes building their immune systems.

“I had heard about teachers getting sick when they started and I got a little bit of that during my student teaching,” said Caleb Payton, a new agricultural teacher.

Payton got a taste of first-year illness just before completing his degree. Now, as he prepares for his initial year as a teacher, he fears a repeat.

Teachers aren’t the only ones who fall victim.

“Most of the time, it’s just allergies, sore throats, just common head colds, nothing serious, until this year,” said Crystal Daniels, school nurse.

Daniels says in her 17 years of experience in long-term healthcare and working in hospitals, she was sick the most when she started working at a school.

At times, she sees more than students.

“Every now and then, the teachers will come by. A lot of them, during the first year, when they are building up their immune systems. You kinda catch a little bit of what every child has in your first year of childcare,” Daniels said.

With Payton teaching such an interactive course especially now during a pandemic, he knows he will not only be in charge of student learning but also making sure that they all are kept safe and healthy.

“With agriculture and the things that we do in FFA, it is a lot of hands-on and that’s how we learn mainly, hands-on. It gives the kids real-world experience. So, yes, during this pandemic you’re going to have to think about ways to make hands-on not so hands-on for everybody,” Payton said.

He says this is not a time to worry, though.

With school guidelines, safety measures, and support from the Future Farmers of America, and the state, they will be able to tackle troubles when they come.

“Stay on the optimistic sides of things, that’s what I am going to tell my kids. ‘Hey, stay optimistic, wash your hands’. Just be sensible,” Payton said.

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