Welcome Back KHS!

Welcome Back KHS!

Esraa Kanaan and Jennifer Hernandez

As we usher in a new school year we also have to realize that we are also welcoming back all of our Kearny High School residents. For the past two years, we have been learning completely online which posed many challenges. From learning how to navigate new software to at-home distractions all of us had to overcome some sort of challenge during the online learning period. In honor of all of this, we decided to interview ten Kearny High School residents and ask them about their experiences online. Out of the ten people interviewed,  four are our very own Kearny High School teachers.

Teachers Questions:

  1. How does it feel to be back teaching in person? 
  2. Did you prefer teaching online or in person? why? 
  3. What challenges did you face during online teaching?


Ms. Fernandez 

I am in the mathematics department.  This is my 3rd year teaching.  I teach Algebra 1 and Consumer Economics this year.  I have freshmen through seniors this year.

Before teaching I was a mechanical engineer.  But I love being at Kearny High and teaching my favorite subject…math!!  I love to see students follow along and really learn and understand the subject and not be afraid of it.

1. I am so happy to be back and seeing all the students in person.  I have not had one full year of teaching since I began and I really missed the personal interactions.


2. I definitely prefer to be in person.  I can walk around my class and answer questions. and really help those students that are not understanding.  I believe students are more willing to ask questions and do not have the distractions that they normally did at home.  It’s more productive not only for me as a teacher but definitely for the students to be in the classroom.


3.     I believe the biggest challenge was not knowing if the students were in fact paying attention and doing their own work. I could not gauge how well they grasped or lacked a grasp of the subject.


Mr. Portuesi

I teach grades 9, 10, and 12.  I’ve been teaching for 13 years.  I teach science; this year it is biology and Anatomy and Physiology.  I’d like to say I hope everyone has a fantastic school year.

  1. Overall, it is excellent to be back in person.  Social distancing and masks can be difficult at times, especially when by the end of the day.  However, when you’re in the moment it’s easy to forget you’re wearing a mask.


  1. I prefer in-person for a couple of reasons.  Student body language is so important while explaining a concept.  It lets me know if I need to break something down more or give a more hands-on example.  Also, I believe students feel more accountable when they are in the classroom and in front of their teachers.


  1. Not being in front of the students disconnected me from all those things I spoke about in question 2.  Also, not being able to do lab activities really put a damper on learning in general as well as making the various topics more interesting.


Mr. Polk 

I am Mr. Polk. I am the science supervisor.  As the science supervisor, I support teachers by providing guidance to enhance student performance and work with the administration and other supervisors to identify and develop ways to address school and student needs.

1. It feels great to be back in school.  The hallways and classrooms are alive with movement and learning. I am excited for this school year.


2. I am the science supervisor and therefore I am not assigned classes to teach.  I prefer in-person teaching and learning because it is more exciting and engaging. Also, there is a greater personal connection during in-person learning than online teaching. This allows for positive relationships to form between all the students and the teacher.


Ms. Laquintano 

I am a Social Studies teacher going into my 6th year of teaching.  I teach World Cultures, US History I, and I advise both the senior class and the debate club.


  1. It feels normal to be back in the building teaching because I did get to do that at the end of last year.  However, it was very tiring at first to go back to teaching a full day of classes (because last year we had half days) and it is a little stressful to have a full classroom of students.  Luckily, everyone has been wearing their masks diligently, but I am nervous about having so many kids in a room.


  1. I feel the same about teaching in-person and teaching online.  I felt like I could do both equally well, and I was able to have a good relationship with my students in both formats.  But I prefer either one of them over the hybrid teaching that we did at the end of last year.  I would rather have everyone in person OR everyone online.


  1. The biggest challenge of online teaching was not being able to give students individual attention unless they came to help period.  Sometimes I just want to be able to talk to a student about their work or behavior without the rest of the class hearing it, and that was more difficult to do online.


Students Questions: 

  1. How do you feel being back at school after almost two years online? 
  2. What do you like or not like about coming back to the school again?
  3. How sure are you that you will do excellent during this school year? 



  1. It feels weird. I got used to waking up and doing school from my bed. To be honest, I kinda miss that, now I have to wake up at 6:30 to get ready for school.


  1. I like that things are slowly going back to normal and can start doing things that we did pre covid, like sports. I don’t like having to wake up early and going to school every morning.


  1. I mean  I’ll try my best this year, I’m pretty confident that I’ll do good.



  1. I feel good about being back, being back gives me a fresh start and new beginnings.


  1. I like the fact that my grades are doing way better. I also like meeting new people and I don’t like having to get up really early.


  1. I’m 100% positive that I will do excellent, so far my grades are showing that me being in person is paying off.



  1. I feel great seeing everyone again. It has been absolutely amazing being in classes with actual people.


  1. I mean I know everyone has to wear a mask but I am honestly not the biggest fan of them. Hopefully, in a couple of months, we will be able to see everyone’s faces again.


  1. I think if I just study and do my work and work really hard throughout the school year I will do great.


Ravyn Mejias

  1. After almost two years online, it feels surreal to be back in the building. Virtual learning was a challenge for me personally and I am sure the same applies to a lot of my classmates. Being physically present in school is amazing as opposed to sitting at home. It is a lot easier to focus without all of the distractions and commotion in my household.


  1. Coming back to the school again has been a bit of a difficult transition and adjustment, but it is great overall. I am happy that the school is taking the proper precautions to protect all of the students. Wearing a mask all day has been a bit tough, but it is better than getting sick or getting someone else sick. I also feel that being back in the school will improve my comprehension of the lessons. I thrive on in-person interactions. Being in other people’s physical presence helps me feel more comfortable and better understand what someone is saying due to their body language.


  1. I am very confident that I will do excellent this school year. Being back in the building has helped me socialize and get to know my teachers and peers better. Since we are back in the classroom environment, I feel more comfortable asking questions and participating more in class. I can also focus more on the lessons and therefore perform better on homework, classwork, quizzes, and tests.


Isaac de Souza 

  1. I feel pretty happy because I get to see my friends again and I feel as if I can pay more attention in class.


  1. I like that I am becoming less sedentary after coming back to school. I dislike that I have to wake up early again


  1. I think that I will do good this year!!


Eleni Nunez 

  • I’m gonna be honest, it’s a little weird and a bit hectic for me to get used to the normal schedule again. I won’t lie, I m I g h t have cheated last year a bit a l l e g e d l y (no clue if that’s how you spell it), but my understanding of the material given to me now is a little wonky. I heard somewhere that the brain starts dying if you don’t continuously give it exercise and I feel like that’s a true statement cause my brain feels mushy.


  • I really like the fact that I can see my friends all the time now as opposed to every 1-2 weeks. It’s refreshing to actually have a purpose as a teenager and to meet new people at school every day. The bad part is, school has a way of almost sucking the life force out of you. I knew when I went back to school again that I’d feel a lot more insecure about myself than when I was alone. When you have only yourself as company for such a long time, you start to actually like yourself. But being around a lot of people in high school makes you think about how much better some people seem to you which sucks.


  • I’m sure I’ll do absolutely fine in everything besides algebra 2 honors. That stuff is crazy and I’m honestly struggling. I went and emailed my old Algebra 1 teacher from 8th grade AND my geometry teacher from last year. Hopefully, my understanding will get better, but I think math just got super hard out of nowhere as it did back in 3rd grade. There go my dreams of being a math teacher;•(.


 Virtual learning had a significant impact on us. However, we overcame all of those obstacles, and here we are, starting a new school year in person. Even though we still have to wear our masks, but at least we are back. We hope that this pandemic will end and everything will get back to normal. We are sorry for those who lost their loved ones during this pandemic—and hoping for a new, happy and successful year. Once again, welcome back to Kearny High School residents.