Teachers Cope Under the Stress of Covid

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Students have been dealing with hard times during Covid, whether because of school work or knowing where you are supposed to be at a certain time; however, we have not been the only ones stressing. Everyone probably is, but most importantly, the teachers. They have to run everything correctly while having everyone counting on them, which puts a lot of the weight on their shoulders.

Strategies handling all students

There are many problems that the teachers run into, but there are three key ones. One of these difficulties is handling both the online and in person students at the same time. After asking three different teachers the question what strategies are you using to handle the fully remote and hybrid students, they each answer differently. The middle school social studies teacher Mr. Dipasquale answers by saying, “I’m trying to keep everyone engaged at the same level whether they’re at school or home. To do this students need all materials shared out and the ability to hear and see me as class goes on. My goal is to make it so students no matter where they are are being taught, it is as if we’re in one classroom.” This strategy is great because you can feel you are getting the same education from home or in school. Mrs. Williams, an honors English teacher in the high school, uses strategies like breakout rooms and calling on people to handle both the in person and remote students. She expressed, “I also try to use different methods of calling on students randomly because sometimes it’s easy to forget to include the students who are remote.” She uses this strategy so everyone can participate and stay engaged in class. Ms. Kluga, the high school band teacher, also answers this question by explaining how she uses an app to help the students from home participate along with the students who are in school. Ms.Kluga said, “We’ve introduced a new music app called Upbeat that allows students to meet in a zoom-like platform; they discuss the music together, are sent to individual recording rooms, and then the program merges their videos together to create a performance that they can all watch and offer feedback.” This allows a great opportunity for all students to participate in band activities.

 

The Big Change

All the teachers are adapting to new ways of teaching. A lot of them also had to make changes because of the new rules of Covid. The next question I asked the teachers was what is the biggest teaching skill you had to change specifically for this year.   Mrs. Williams answered this question by explaining how it is harder to present a topic and know that the students are understanding what you are saying. “I never realized how much I depended on reading students’ faces to check for understanding until I couldn’t really see them all.” She now has to go through a procedure that involves calling on students at home and making sure they are listening. Ms. Kluga also has had to make adaptations to her way of teaching. It is much harder to play an instrument with a band during this time. “For safe in-person rehearsals we work with 12′ spacing, masks, and instrument PPE,” said Ms. Kluga. She now has to add gathering materials for safe playing to her list of preparing for class.  Mr. Dipasquale is a hands-on teacher. His method involves a lot of activities that students can no longer do since some of the class is at home, and with Covid safety precautions. He also has to focus more on his computer. “I’m usually good with technology,” he said,  “but this model has made me have to be even more prepared and ahead of the game as I re-work and create lessons.” Like Ms. Kluga, he has more things to prepare for class. 

 

Surprise of teaching online and hybrid

The last problem I investigated was that teachers have a hard time with not knowing what could happen. I asked the teachers what surprised them most about online/hybrid teaching. All three teachers surprisingly gave the same exact answer: they are surprised with the adaption of the students and teachers around the building. Mrs. Williams told me, “I was surprised that I was able to adapt to so many new programs and technological tools to reach my students.” She has adjusted to using new technology like Kami and Padlet. Mrs.Williams was also impressed with the students’ work. Ms. Kluga said she was surprised with the students being so patient and helpful. The upperclassmen helping all the younger students out really impressed her too. She says, “Building a sense of community is so important in any year, but in 202o,  it’s the most important.” Mr. D also agrees with both of our YHS teachers. “We are all in this together everyday, every period,” he says. He believes in all the students and every single teacher and is excited to see what is going to come after the obstacles we all face.

In conclusion, everyone is going through similar stress and problems. As you can see, there will always be a person who can help you with the issues you’re facing. If we all work together and help each other, we can get through this time jointly.