Thornton talks economics, online schooling

Trent Thornton teaches economics. He is now one of many teachers adapting to school closures.

Leilanie Rios

Trent Thornton teaches economics. He is now one of many teachers adapting to school closures.

From online schooling to adapting assignments to each student’s need, it is no secret that teachers have been thrown into shouldering the toll of this pandemic. However, couple the unpredictability of online learning with the ever-changing future for food and hospitality service, and the weight of the world becomes that much heavier.   

Trent Thornton is an economics teacher and bartender who, like everyone else, is attempting to navigate this strange new predicament. 

“I miss being around students the most,” Thornton said. “I learn from them everyday.” 

A self-proclaimed “technology infant,” he is adjusting to the world of online teaching. “Having to learn certain programs isn’t something I like to do,” he commented, showing some of the difficulties many teachers are facing. 

Thornton currently works as a bartender to aid his income. However, due to bar and restaurant shutdowns, he has not worked for two weeks. Governor Ducey’s website says legislation has been signed to “ensure teachers and staff see no disruption in pay as a result of COVID-19.” 

The goal is to prevent major economic issues as many are finding themselves laid off or with reduced hours. But not everyone is confident with  where they stand. 

“There are millions of hospitality industry workers who are out of jobs right now and can’t pay bills,” said Thornton. “I think those teachers that work in [the hospitality] industry will see significant losses to their income levels.” 

As of February 2020, the Arizona Commerce Authority stated unemployment is at 4.5%. Many people are expecting to lose their jobs, so the Trump Administration signed two acts into law, the Families First Coronavirus Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. According to the US Department of Labor, the acts will assist states in providing unemployment insurance to those affected by COVID-19. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said, “Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places.” This is likely due to announcements urging people to stay away from crowded places and encouragements to stick to take out.  

Thornton said, “It will take a long time to recover even with the Federal Reserve and our government doing what they are doing to help it.” These unemployment issues will have a long term effect on the economy.

“I have learned a lot from my LDS students over the years to be self reliant,” said Thornton. “I have been using this time to can food items.” This is in reference to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to have food stored for at least 3 months ( He is working on stocking his pantry when he is not working with his students.