Ellen Galindo, Oral History 03/10/2021


Title (Dublin Core)

Ellen Galindo, Oral History 03/10/2021
Ellen Galindo Oral History, 2021/03/10

Description (Dublin Core)

This is an oral history of Ellen Galindo, a teacher in Orange County, California. The date of this interview was three days shy of the one year anniversary of when her school shut down. She has been teaching online for a year now. She is also expecting her first child. Her oral history is focused on her experience teaching through Distance Learning and her feelings on being pregnant during the pandemic.

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

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Event Identifier (Dublin Core)

Partner (Dublin Core)

Type (Dublin Core)


Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

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Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Kathryn Jue

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Ellen Galindo

Location (Omeka Classic)

Huntington Beach
United States

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Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


Transcription (Omeka Classic)

KJ: Hi. My name is Katy Jue, and I'm a graduate student intern with the COVID-19 archive at ASU. The day is March 10, 2021. The time is 1:19. Pacific Standard Time, and I'm speaking with Ellen Galindo, I want to ask you some questions about your pandemic experience. But before I do, I would like to ask for your consent to record this response for the COVID-19 archives. The COVID-19 archive is a digital archive at ASU that is collecting pandemic experiences. Do I have your consent to record your responses and add them to the archive with your name?

EG: Yes.

KJ: Okay. Thank you. First, can you tell me your name, age, race and where you live?

EG: Name Ellen Galindo. Age 34. Race? Can I say mixed? Or should I select a specific one?

KJ: That's up to you mixed is fine if that's what you -

Ellen Galindo 0:56
Mixed. And then what was the last one?

KJ: Oh, where do you live?

EG: Huntington Beach, California. All right. Oh, Was that it?

KJ: That was the last question on that.

EG: Okay.

KJ: Alright um, I'm just gonna ask you a little bit about your background to kind of set the context for this interview. So if you could please tell me a little bit about your family and living situation when the pandemic began?

EG: Um living situation it was it's just me and my husband, in our house. And um, backgrounds? Both teachers. And I don't know, was that just living situations? Just us two.

KJ: Yes.

EG: And both teachers working from home once the pandemic hit.

KJ: Thank you. Um, prior to the pandemic, can you describe an average week, like, where you went what you did, any commitments that your family had. Anything that would paint a picture of what your average kind of week looked like.

EG: Average week would be teaching at school, from, you know, 7:30 to three. And then on at night, or evenings, binge watching TV shows. And then usually on weekends, we would go hang out at a restaurant and meet up with some friends. And then I think, was your birthday scheduled around that time? Like, weren't we going to go to Azteca or something?

KJ: We were.

EG: Yeah. So that unfortunately, you know, got cancelled, but that was something I was really looking forward to for that week, before this all happened.

KJ: All right, um, thank you, um. Describe how your, like average week changed or did not change after the pandemic began.

EG: Definitely changed in the sense of well, working from home and being around your significant other all the time. And then, um, the, because we didn't really have a set schedule for school. So it was just kind of a, I don't know. How would you describe it like a, you know, just posting materials online, having due dates and having the kids, um, complete the assignments by those due dates. So there were, there really was no set schedule or routine for kids or myself at that point for work. And then some things that didn't change was binge watching television shows. Um, still just hanging out, you know, I mean, cautiously, of course, but hanging out with, uh, family. And then, um, yeah, of course, not being able to go anywhere or touch anything, once this all happened.

KJ: Okay, thank you. Um, we are going to transition now into looking more at online learning and a little more detail. So if you could describe distance learning in three words, if you were going to pick three words to describe distance learning.

EG: Challenging. Um. Different. Um, ineff-, I don't want to say it's ineffective because it is. Um. Just not as effective. But that's two words. That wouldn't be three

KJ: It's well, we'll allow it.

EG: Okay. Not as effective as in person, obviously.

KJ: Thank you, um, see just again, to build a little bit of context, can you explain what a normal school day looked like prior to the pandemic,

EG: Normal school day started at 730, with, you know, prepping for your first period at eight o'clock. And then students had 56 minute periods every day. Um, and you got to see your students every day, and maintain, you know, good relationships and connections with them. That unfortunately, you don't have during distance learning. Oh, and then school day would end at 2:45.

KJ: Thank you just didn't want to cut you off. Want to make sure you know, you get to answer whatever you want to say. Um, you kind of already mentioned this. But just to recap it. Is there anything else you want to add to the end of the 2020 school year with distance learning? I know, you already kind of talked about what that was like. But is there anything else about describing how, excuse me how those last months of the 2020 school year looked with distance learning?

EG: Uh, yeah, it was just, it was really confusing for everyone involved. And everyone approached it differently. So I feel like the students in a sense checked out because they just didn't see I guess the point of it at this point. And then on top of that grades, you know, everyone was going to either pass or not pass depending on how low their grade was. And so participation from students was, you know, decreased compared to being in person. And so it was just kind of a self esteem, like a hit to the self esteem in seeing or not seeing these kids who used to care or put in effort not doing that anymore. Thank you.

KJ: So looking at this year, compared to last year, can you describe how distance learning changed between last year and this year?

EG: We do have a new schedule, which makes it a lot easier to hold students accountable. Um, of course, the periods are longer, which you know, has, it's good and bad, you know, you get a lot more done in 80 minutes than you can in 55 minutes. But at the same time, holding students' attention for 85 minutes while on a conference call, or a zoom call, can be challenging. Um, with the schedule, though, and with grades, you know, counting towards their GPA This time, I feel like there is more participation from students, they're being held more accountable and responsible for their actions or lack thereof. And so, and me being a very routine person enjoy enjoys having a routine and schedule put in place.

KJ: Thank you. Um,so this is just a question is just another opportunity for you to kind of just describe what it's been like teaching online this year. So if there's anything else you just want to share of, like, what does it been like, teaching online?

EG: I'll go with that first word, I used to describe it with just challenging, um, you know, just trying to find the balance of giving kids grace and being flexible with everything. And then at the same time, holding them accountable and being having them be responsible for their learning. That balance is difficult to balance.And then, wait, remind me the question again?

KJ: Just what has it been like teaching online?

EG: Um, and then for those students who, you know, have kind of fallen off the radar or aren't participating? Um, you. Unfortunately, there's no way you can, you know, reach out to them and physically, you know, hold them accountable or have them meet up with you and talk to them. That I feel like that makes more of a difference than saying, hey, over zoom call. Can you meet me, you know, in an hour to help you, you know, get more time on homework or complete assignments. I feel like, although there are

KJ: Oh, could you stop talking for one second the sound went out? Can you hear me?

EG: You know, not be sad, successful as you think they could be, while in person are normally.

KJ: Okay,this is I'm so sorry that your sound cut out for half that answer. I could I could recap what I heard on my end. And then if there's anything you want to add.

EG: Okay, where did they cut it off?

KJ: So you were talking about having a kid how it's a little more difficult if you're asking a kid during a zoom call to come meet up with you. And it's like, right after that you cut out?

EG: Yeah, I was just gonna repeating myself. Yeah, it's difficult to kind of reach out to those students who need extra support, over you know, distance learning than if they were in person, and you can have them come into your room and ask any questions. And, um, you know, physically be there, which you wouldn't think makes that big of a difference, but it really does. And so, that's just kind of another challenge that's been difficult to deal with this year.

KJ: Thank you, um, what has, oh, you know, what, let me and I forgot to ask you what you teach. So if you could tell us what to what you teach, or what, what grade, that sort of thing so we know.

EG: 10th grade world history and 12th grade economics.

KJ: Thank you, um, what has surprised you the most teaching this pandemic year?

EG: Um, you know, as much as I, my last answer might not, you know, support this, but I do believe that this actually has taught not only, you know, kids, better, extra, uh, you know, A plus students, but just kids in general, how resilient that they can be kind of dealing with all this stuff, and still trying at least to make an effort to come and log on and try their best. Um, on top of that, another good thing has been the gaining of knowledge of using technology in order to make learning more effective, whether it is, you know, going to be in person and used eventually down the road normally, or even this year, just having some, everything online is kind of nice, at least. So that's something that could be positive, I guess.

KJ: Thank you, um, what is your opinion on school reopening?

EG: Well, how long do we have?

KJ: We are here for you.

EG: So I'm going to take this as this question, I'm going to take as, you know, our school opening with the last two months of school in session, um, which I think is ludicrous. Um, I think that and even asking the kids you know, since with all the safety protocols, and guidelines, that we're basically zooming, whether you're in class or not, just kind of defeats the purpose of being in class. And, you know, with the whole argument of preventing or trying to help out learning loss, it's the last two and a half two months of school, the kids who are getting, you know, 30% I don't think we'll be able to get up to 60% in just the, you know, last few months of school, so, I prefer to stay home until numbers are completely completely low and or people have been completely vaccinated. Um, because at this point, I personally don't see the point of going back to campus.

KJ: Thank you. Has your opinion on school reopening changed throughout this year?

EG: Nope.

KJ: Thank you. Before we transition into it, The next topic, which is, I guess, more personal, it's about the fact that you are expecting a baby. Is there anything else that you want to add in about anything about online teaching or school reopening, or anything at all, that you didn't get a chance to share?

EG: Um, I just, you know, I don't want to sound like a negative Nancy, like, I probably have my last few responses. But I do appreciate all the effort that everyone has been putting into place in order to try to make it as successful as possible. I mean, we all know that it's not nearly as effective as a normal school day, seeing your students every day, answering questions, being there for support, but I do think everyone is doing the best that they can.

KJ: Thank you. Alright, so like I said, we're gonna transition over here to a different topic, which is the fact that you are expecting a child. So can you describe your initial emotions when you learned that you were pregnant?

EG: Terrified. Terrified, and then excited.

KJ: Thank you, um, to relate back to kind of the the main topic, which is about you your experience teaching during this pandemic, how, excuse me, how has being pregnant changed or not changed your outlook on school reopening?

EG: Um, it hasn't infected only reinforced my opinion that I would not want to go back until numbers have decreased significantly, or everyone has been vaccinated.

KJ: Thank you, um, how has changed how, excuse me. How has being pregnant, changed or not changed your outlook on the pandemic as a whole?

EG: Um, it, before I knew I was able to get vaccinated while pregnant. It only made me I guess, more fearful and paranoid. Just knowing that already being pregnant, your immune system is, you know, suppressed. And so you're more likely to have a risk are at greater risk of getting COVID. So it just made me really, more, you know, cautious, I guess would be the better word of surroundings of, you know, what is it called surfaces, people? Until I finally realized that it could get vaccinated, and then that was kind of a weight lifted off my shoulders.

KJ: If you, um, has the, has the pandemic changed your expectations for your pregnancy? And if so, how?

EG: Um, yeah, I mean, I don't, I don't know what to expect being pregnant in the first place. But it unfortunately, when I go to doctor's appointments, my husband cannot go with me. And it being our first child, his first child, it's kind of a bummer. Um, you know, because he can't see the ultrasound, he can't be there to ask the doctor questions and meet. As for myself, you know, it kind of is sad that I have to go and do it alone, so to speak. Um, so it's kind of just made things a little bit more you know, not I don't want to say it's not exciting. It just kind of made things a little bit more difficult, I guess, so to say as a word.

KJ: Thank you. If there if there was no pandemic, would there be any changes to how you're preparing for the baby?

EG: Um, no pandemic? I don't think so. It mean, I'm still early on. So I mean, of course, I guess you could say like later on down the road, baby showers and getting together with family and things like that. Like we couldn't tell our family members in person, it had to be over FaceTime or zoom. So it would have been nice to you know, have people or family together for that. As I mentioned, the baby shower doesn't look like that would be a possibility in person maybe. I don't know. It's still a few months away. So yeah, just different in the terms of keeping a low profile to just make sure everybody is safe and protected.

KJ: Thank you. Um, has the pandemic changed the amount of time you're planning to take off when the baby arrives?

EG: It? Actually, no, I don't think so. I'm trying to think, no, but that's hoping that everything goes back to normal by the fall.

KJ: Thank you. Um, if a future, like history student, or I guess anybody were to ask you, you know, if they found out that you had been pregnant during the pandemic, and they were like, "Mrs. Galindo, what was it like being pregnant during the pandemic?" How would you answer that?

EG: I would say it was scary and anxious, or whatever the word that you would use for ancient. Just because like I said, before, I could figure out that I was going to get the vaccine, or I could get the vaccine, it was just like, an extra layer of stress, and anxiety, you know, looking at who, you know, is coming over, who we even want to be in contact with or where we even go. Um, and so it was just kind of an extra layer of stress and anxiety.

KJ: Alright, thank you. Um, I just have a couple more questions. So this is kind of wrapping up the interview now. So to kind of conclude here, is there anything you want to share to help people better understand what it's like to be pregnant during this pandemic?

EG: Um, I want I really, I wish that there was more awareness, I guess, because I was totally in the dark. I wish there was more awareness or maybe even more research about being pregnant during a pandemic. And there the options to get vaccinated. I'm sorry, repeat the question again.

KJ: Just Is there anything else you want to share to help people better understand what it was like to be pregnant during a pandemic, this pandemic?

EG: And then you know, just to make sure that you're safe and to take care of yourself both physically, and mentally? Because it is exhausting mentally? Um, but yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

KJ: Thank you. Um, and then to just wrap up the teaching portion of the interview here. Assuming you return to the classroom, when the pandemic ends, are there things you will, that you'll change about the way you teach as a result of this pandemic? And if so, what are those?

EG: Online tests. Yeah, there are, there are a few assignments that I thought were beneficial, more so online than there would be, you know, old school pen and paper. Um, so yeah, I mean, I guess the idea of using more technology would be something that I could take away and use once school resumes back to normal.

KJ: Thank you. And then just to wrap everything up, is there anything else you want to share about what it has been like to teach during this pandemic? Today is March 10. Right? So I guess for you, it has been almost exactly a year since, almost a year anniversary when we went online. So is there anything else you want to share?

EG: Um, yeah, I just really miss the kids, like I missed, you know, coming towards the end of the year. You know, you usually at the end of the year are sad to say goodbye. And, you know, you wish them the best and you can't wait to see them next year when there are, you know, nine feet taller than you all of a sudden. Um, and so that's kind of what I'm missing. It's just the connections, the relationships that you have during a normal school year that I don't think that I will have at this school end of the school year. I mean, even those that may be coming back with reopening, I can't guarantee I will recognize their faces, especially with masks on and that's just, you know, kind of sad and depressing to think about so I really, that's kind of the main part that I miss about teaching in person normally.

KJ: Well thank you, if just one more time throwing it out there. If there's anything else you want to add now would be the time.

EG: I'm good.

KJ: Okay. Thank you. In that case, thank you so much for your time. I'm going to stop the recording now.

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