Saint John — Back in the day, high school students were known to try and pile themselves into tiny phone booths, just to see how many they could fit. Since the pandemic, however, shoving too many kids into a cramped space is no longer just a tradition — it is now official school policy.
This initiative reached its peak this week when dozens of understaffed schools in the city closed, and their students were bussed to the former Harbour Station, where they have all been taking lessons from a single, overworked teacher: Ms. Rebecca Alister.
“It’s been a little difficult developing a lesson plan for over 6,000 kids,” she told The Manatee. “Especially considering they range in age from 5 to 18 years old.”
“But,” she added, with a small, defeated smile, “that’s why I get paid the big bucks.”
After a less-than-thorough background check, the city allowed The Manatee to observe the school day in person on Wednesday. At 9 a.m., give or take, the students were ushered into the stadium and divided into different seating sections based on their age group.
Ms. Alister then led her class in the singing the national anthem. After that, she attempted to cover as wide a curriculum as possible. Starting with math, where she covered everything from basic addition to calculus, followed by her English class, in which they read both A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and See Spot Run.
After this, lunch was served at the concession stands, meaning the children had their choice of popcorn, snow cones or Timbits. Cash only, as usual.
The afternoon followed in a similar fashion. Although, lately, Ms. Alister says she has found herself simply throwing on an old movie onto the Jumbotron, just to get a break.
As the early results have shown, this experiment has not been beneficial for the children’s marks, with the exception of a few high school-aged Sea Dogs, who have the home team advantage.
Ms. Alister remains hopeful that the pandemic will eventually abate, and this arrangement will not last much longer.
“I can’t imagine issuing all those final report cards,” she said, looking exhausted. “I’m having enough trouble learning everyone’s name.”
We Believe did this in 2018 and will again on may 18, 2023 with an additional 80,000+ watching via live stream/