Working at my job at Dutch Bros. Coffee I have the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people a day. During one of my shifts I decided to ask every person who came to the window how the COVID-19 virus was impacting their job. Every teacher I talked to at the window had a similar experience. It made me ponder why all the media attention is focused on keeping students safe and their experience at school, but not focused on keeping teachers safe and their experience. That is when I got the idea to tell the school coronavirus story from the teacher’s perspective.
My biggest challenge was finding sources because many teachers were apprehensive to talk about their experience negatively out of fear of backlash from administration and the districts. Luckily, I was able to set up interviews with three individuals who trust me. I told them beforehand if they thought any of the questions were too controversial I would leave it off the record. I was surprised by how much information I was able to receive to make my story interesting and informative, but not controversial. It was apparent how much love each of them has for their students and teaching and that they are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure kids are getting a good education even in a global pandemic. Amber Rogers was my favorite teacher in high school and it made my day to be able to catch up with her and talk about the current state of the world. We spent the last few minutes of our Zoom call talking about politics, off the record, of course.
I struggled to write my story because I was conflicted about how to organize it. I did not know if I wanted to organize it by highlighting each source individually or by the dilemmas teachers have faced this year. Ultimately, I chose to organize it by dilemma, starting with things that occurred at the beginning of the school year and adding the rest of the information chronologically. I am proud of this story and how it turned out and when my sources read it, I hope they are pleased with how they are represented.
I am a full-time student at the University of Utah studying journalism, political science, and economics. I spend my time being the host of a podcast called “White-Washed,” available on Apple and Spotify, in which I talk about anything from race relations to news, pop culture, and more. I have interned at Chicks Into Sports in Atlanta and KUER in Salt Lake City. I want to use my experience being a minority and underrepresented as inspiration to share the stories of people who are often overlooked or need someone to be their voice. Growing up biracial has also made me want to understand both sides of every story, argument, and debate because I do not believe life is as solid of a dichotomy as it is made out to be.
On the side I run my own jewelry business called D by Darienne and specialize in chain jewelry. Upon graduation I hope to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and become a news anchor. My ultimate goal is to become a United States Senator. A fun fact about me is I skipped a grade growing up, so I have always been younger than my classmates and friends.