Struggling teachers find ways to engage with students
by Aiden Nielson, reporter
Teachers at Shawano Community High School are truly the people that are struggling the most with virtual school. Each department has had to adapt in various ways. Mr. Matthew Brunette from the science department, Miss. Danielle Evans from the FACS department and Mrs. Elizabeth Alexander from the math department gave some insight about how they have been coping with virtual schooling.
“I hate not being able to see kids’ faces,” Mr. Brunette said. “It’s hard to crack a joke when I don’t get any expression back.”
With teaching chemistry classes, it is helpful for students to have 3-D diagrams as a visual to help picture something like an O2 (oxygen) molecule. Having only virtual classes makes those nearly impossible for Mr. Brunette, and it forces him to adapt.
“The process of doing the material is pretty much the same. I don’t have the ability to have my students work hands-on,” claimed Mr. Brunette.
Since virtual school was announced, teachers have had to adjust in all sorts of ways. They have improved their ways of teaching, and Miss Evans commented on how she thought she could improve herself.
“I think I can make my lessons more interactive and hands-on to make them more exciting for my students,” Miss Evans claimed. “I really want to get them on their feet in the kitchen.”
When thinking about the struggles as a teacher to be in an all virtual schooling environment, most think about how their lessons have had to change.
“It’s hard to figure out how to balance my time between my kids and school,” said Mrs. Alexander. “I had been pregnant in the spring time when we first had done virtual school, so we’ve really had to consider our safety this year.”
Although COVID-19 has made many daily activities difficult, the announcement to stay virtual until late November has also made some things easier.
“The one thing I do appreciate is that it’s easier to plan out and manage what I’m going to be doing for the next month,” said Mrs. Alexander. “At the beginning we were never sure if we were going to have to completely change our schedule.”
A teacher’s job is not just to teach the material, but to also help the students understand the material. Experienced teachers do recognize when students are struggling.
“I’ve noticed many students are frustrated with the current environment we’re in,” explained Mrs. Alexander. “My students are putting in a lot of work, and I really do believe that they are getting the surface level of learning, but they aren’t really in depth with it.”
Students are feeling the pressure of virtual schooling, and it is beginning to take a toll on their grades.
“Students’ grades are doing much worse this year,” claimed Mr. Brunette. “Without having someone physically in front of them to teach causes them to slip, it’s just human nature.”
From what both teachers and students have gone through so far this school year, most can only hope that things get better.
“I hope we can get back to physical school,” exclaimed Miss. Evans. “I really miss interacting with all of my students.”