After an outbreak of covid-19 cases, schools were forced to close, and teachers had to carry out classes online. This transition has led to various complications as teachers struggle to put plans in place to carry out these classes five days a week.
When schools first closed, teachers scrambled to figure out how they would run their online classes. Without a lot of time to get things done, teachers were left with many unknowns. Matthew Bohm, math teacher, spoke of a few of his concerns.
“I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work,” Bohm said. “I didn’t really figure out how I was going to grade and how I was going to collect assignments and things like that.”
One of the most important procedures was to prepare teachers to carry out class in a way that would benefit each student. In order to do so, Laurie Plankers, English teacher, said they attended district training. However, she found the most success when working with other teachers. Catherine MIller, physical education teacher, also talked about what this preparation was like for her.
“As a department districtwide all of us P.E. teachers got together and talked about how we could present the curriculum in a way that it’s still P.E,” said Miller. “We talked about how we would keep the students accountable.”
However, teachers have found this to be rather difficult as technical difficulties have arisen. One of these have come from StudentVue, a platform that would allow students to turn in their assignments and check their grades. This has led teachers to find ways around these difficulties, such as transitioning into other platforms, like Google Classroom.
“We found out that a lot of the StudentVue stuff has been kind of a disaster,” Bohm said. “So allowing us to use Google Classroom and other things has been very, very helpful.”
Technical difficulties aren’t the only burden being placed on teachers. One of the biggest frustrations has been trying to connect with students. Without being able to properly communicate, Plankers, along with other teachers, worry about whether or not the material is reaching each student.
“That’s what plagues my heart almost everyday,” Plankers said. “There are kids that I haven’t seen yet. There are kids who haven’t done one thing yet; and it’s hard to reach anyone, but especially people who are really struggling.”
This may no longer be an issue, because on Oct. 19 students will be transitioning into a hybrid format. This new format will consist of half days in which students with a last name starting with A through L will attend school in the morning, and the rest will attend in the afternoon. However, this brings its own set of challenges for teachers, such as Bohm, to get used to.
“My seventh hour class I have 16 total,” Bohm said. “When we go to hybrid the split is like there’s five people in the morning and 11 people in the afternoon. So that’s going to be kind of different.”
Until then, students and staff will continue in an online format. Although the situation is not ideal, teachers stress the importance of staying in touch with each teacher through these unprecedented times. Whether you converse through email, calls, chatbox, or zoom lessons, it’s important to reach out in any way possible.
“Don’t be shy about it because they want you to succeed,” Miller said. “The number one reason I teach and have been teaching for over 36, 37 years is because I love the relationships I build with my students.”