Teachers evolving post-remote learning



Teachers are ready to be back in school after a year where they did not see some students in-person. https://unsplash.com/license

Jacqueline Litowinsky

In March of 2020, teachers around the world were forced to completely alter how they taught their students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to figure out how to properly translate in-person learning to teaching students behind a computer screen, and within an unexpectedly short timeframe.

Many of these teachers finished out the year strong and managed to keep their students on track with their learning, but it wasn’t always easy.

According to CNBC, a 2020 Horace Mann report stated that 60% of educators enjoyed their job less during the pandemic, with 27% saying that they considered taking a leave of absence or leaving their job altogether.

Many CHS teachers, including computer programming and web design teacher Laura Gesin, faced some of their own difficulties when shifting to virtual learning.

“Teaching and learning work best in person,” Gesin said. “That is not to say that I didn’t make connections with some of my fully virtual students, but it was much more difficult and took much longer than it would if we were in person.”

Another concerning factor of virtual learning was the potential of a disruption in learning for students, something that 97% of educators reported seeing in their students over the past year when compared with children not impacted by COVID-19, Horace Mann found.

“There is a lot of talk in the education field regarding ‘learning loss’ from the past year and a half. This time has been incredibly difficult for teachers and students and honestly I dislike the idea of starting a new school year with such a negative outlook,” said Spanish teacher Karen Britto.

Despite the challenges of adapting students’ education amidst a complete transition to online learning, many teachers, including those at CHS, realized that they could take what they learned from 2020 and apply it in the classroom as students return to school in 2021.

“I plan to use some of the virtual tools, like Meet, for things like guest speakers,” said journalism instructor Wayne Woolley. “I also may incorporate more of the project-based assignments into classes.”

Some CHS teachers, like health and science teacher Leah Morgan, even said that the pandemic changed their teaching styles drastically.

“It was very challenging to keep everyone active and on pace with each other,” said Morgan. “I chose to create two different sets of lesson plans, one for the kids at home and one for the kids in school. When necessary, I had the virtual kids join the Google Meet for notes, etc. but I tried to limit that.”

With all of these new learning methods and strategies, CHS staff members such as Britto were able to persevere in a school year impacted by a global pandemic, and are excited to begin this new school year.

“While there may be concepts that students missed, I think we all learned a lot about ourselves, and how to manage an adverse, ongoing situation. I plan to handle this school year as I have handled all others by trying to be the best teacher I can be for my students and meeting them where they are.”