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First-year teachers in the Poconos are optimistic

Newswatch 16's Amanda Eustice spoke with two new teachers, optimistic about the upcoming school year.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Amid a national teacher shortage, a district in the Poconos just welcomed its largest class of first-year teachers in decades.

Taylor Juszynski of East Stroudsburg is setting up her classroom inside East Stroudsburg South High School, hanging up pictures her students drew for her.

After college, Juszynski, taught for one year in rural Virginia before landing a teaching job at East Stroudsburg South High School, a place she calls home.

"So excited," Juszynski said. "This is really like coming home. I spent four of my best years here when I was a student, so I'm just glad that I get to give back to students that I was given to when I was here."

Juszynski is just one of the four dozen first-year teachers the school district welcomed this year.

Dominique Sapienza is another — civics and psychology. Sapienza has been with the district for more than two years, subbing daily, then becoming a long-term substitute teacher.

"A lot of kids don't always have somebody on their side, and I just want to be that person for them, and if I can get one kid that says, 'Hey, I remember you. You helped me.' I would be like super happy about that."

While the coronavirus still exists, teachers we spoke with say they're optimistic about the upcoming school year.

"They haven't had really a normal year since they were in like sixth or seventh grade, so it's a lot of learning curve because they forgot how to students. They forgot how to sit in a seat and listen and talk to each other and be nice to one another. And again, it's a lot with that social aspect," Juszynski said.

"Trying to go back to business is going to be a little weird for the students, and even like last year, seeing how some of them came from being at home, half-time coming here full-time, it's an adjustment, and I think it's still going to be a little bit of an adjustment for a little bit," Sapienza said.

The district is still looking to hire more teachers. Get more information here.

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