By Hayley Rea--Eagle Staff Writer
Since returning during the pandemic, teachers on campus such as Michael Rogers, Jennifer Bennett, Rebekah Garrett, and Dave Campbell have made many adjustments to keep students safe while providing knowledge for them.
“Covid has affected my teaching tremendously,” said Bennett, a science teacher. “I love the interactions with students in class, and that is one thing that I truly miss.”
In the months leading up to the start of the new school year, it was decided that Franklin County Public Schools would return, but on a hybrid schedule. That will soon be changing, but first, teachers had to adapt to the new reality.
“Things are much different this year. Under our hybrid schedule I teach A day students, B day students, and virtual students,” commented Rogers, a math teacher. “I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to utilize the time I have with students in the classroom.”
In the A/B/Hybrid format came first. On Mondays and Tuesdays, teachers gave in-person instruction to A day students and on Thursdays and Fridays, they taught B day students. Wednesdays were and are all-virtual days.
“I will be glad to get back to our normal daily school routines,” Bennett rsaid.
For virtual assignments, teachers have set up their classes in Canvas, a learning platform for educators. There, they post assignments and other class materials for students on virtual days.
“Now that learning is primarily via a virtual delivery, teaching has changed to become a blend of pre-recorded presentations, notes and online videos to supplement the lessons,” said Garrett, a Spanish teacher, about teaching virtually using Canvas.
Teachers have to not only create virtual assignments to keep their students engaged from home, but they also create lesson plans for in-person instruction.
“What I decided on was a ‘flipped’ classroom where students do most of the learning at home through video lessons, and then I spend most of my time in class answering questions and reviewing the material,” Rogers explained. “I still get to be up in front of the room some, but I also find myself sitting at my computer for long periods of time trying to make sure that everyone not in the classroom has what they need.”
One of the biggest challenges that teachers have dealt with while teaching during a pandemic is specifically how to engage their students in activities that they’re used to completing in a classroom setting.
“Students still have a portion of practice work using each skill set, but because I cannot see and hear my students speaking Spanish daily in class, they are submitting more speaking assessments on topics pertaining to each lesson,” Garrett described.
For classes that typically require hands-on labs and activities, teachers have had to find other ways to replicate those assignments.
"For us as a newspaper staff, we have completely revamped the entire paper," Campbell, a journalism teacher, said. "This year, we will be completely online--leaving behind the old print editions. It will be a change, but we are excited for the challenge."
Bennett has also met with some hurdles.
“As a science teacher, my students do many labs. There are simulations online that can mimic the content of a lab, but there is nothing like getting your hands dirty by using equipment and analyzing results from a lab,” explained Bennett.
The adjustments made by teachers due to Covid have been plentiful, but they are still working under the circumstances to provide education for the students.
“Even though teaching this way is not what I’m used to, it is obvious that learning is still taking place. That gives me motivation to keep working hard during a pretty difficult time,” Rogers concluded.