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California schools closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. While the learning never stopped, and schools eventually reopened, educators have have had to quickly adapt to different modes of teaching, ever-changing health and safety guidelines, staffing shortages and ongoing stress and trauma amongst students, their colleagues, their families and communities, and themselves.

“I feel like an octopus,” said teacher Corey Morton,  as she navigated school with PPE and classroom essentials.

There has been no guidebook to any of this, including how to keep sane and strong while personal and professional lives continue to be filled with uncertainty.

But as you can read in our stories, CTA members are figuring it out as they go along, teaching and nurturing students with empathy, skill and a dedication that is truly unparalleled. “Despite COVID, teachers are making sure that students are getting a top-notch education,” said David A. Sanchez, a retired CTA president who has stepped in as a much-needed substitute teacher.

Our aim with this series, which started in late spring 2020, was to capture what educators have been going through at specific moments in time and how they are coping. We sincerely hope the end of “Tales From the Trenches” comes very soon.


February 2022: Surviving a surge, shortages and trauma as we enter year three


Hayward High School’s COVID testing line, which was 2-3 people a day in 2021, ballooned during the surge of January 2022.






February 2021: Hybrid? Concurrent? Asynchronous? Educators tell us what teaching is really like


Kathy Adair with students.






June 2020: After schools shut down, educators pivot to remote teaching and learning


Educators and spouses Richard and Lisa Razo teaching remotely in their living room.



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