Katy is a frontline workers (music teacher) who lives in Riverdale, Maryland. She is thirty-five years old.
“I don’t feel like a hero. I wanted to quit because I don’t have childcare, but we needed the paycheck. It’s been frustrating that my role has completely shifted, but that I’m still attempting to teach.”
We are currently living in an unprecedented time where workers, students, and people as a whole are uniquely impacted by COVID-19. How have you been directly impacted?
Both my husband and I are currently working from home. My husband’s work tasks have remained the same, but mine have changed significantly. Our two children no longer have child care, and our daughter is doing schoolwork from home.
In regards to the current administration’s handling of the pandemic, what are your thoughts on their management of COVID-19?
The current administration doesn’t seem to have a grasp on the situation. Meanwhile, local administrations have stepped up to solve problems.
Describe for me the work adjustments that your company made during the pandemic? What are some personal work adjustments that you have made?
As a music teacher, I am currently providing content to students through videos, live streams, and other platforms. I have almost no interactions with students directly, and there is no new instruction occurring at this time. Most of our work revolves around making sure students are healthy and are still connected. The learning curve with new technology has taken up a lot of work hours.
What do you think about the idea of people viewing you as a “hero” for working the frontlines during a pandemic? Would you agree or disagree with that?
I don’t feel like a hero. I wanted to quit because I don’t have childcare, but we needed the paycheck. It’s been frustrating that my role has completely shifted, but that I’m still attempting to teach.
What do you think this pandemic has revealed about the value we place on other job positions versus the one you have?
That’s an interesting question because I represent two sectors: education and the arts. In both fields, people are undervalued. In both fields, individuals have been asked to make huge donations or sacrifices for society as a whole. But ultimately, I don’t think either industry will change significantly after the crisis has resolved.
How do you think your company/public ought to view workers, such as yourself, moving forward?
I think the public should realize that teachers provide just as much social/emotional support to students as they give education. I think the arts should be viewed as essential, because it promotes resiliency in difficult situations such as these.
Explain for me how you view yourself, role, and impact as a worker during this pandemic?
I think the school system would pay me off right now if they could get away with it. I’m protected by my union and the families I serve. I think I am resilient and I may need to pivot even more in my role in the days to come. It’s important to be versatile in order to remain essential as the situation changes.