Terrific Teachers

Teachers adjust to online learning and provide additional support for students

Ruth Demeke, Staff Writer

Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, SMSD has closed all school buildings for the rest of the school year. This has led to an online method where students can learn virtually. 

Teachers have been using video chat applications such as Zoom, where they can hold online meetings with students.

I think Zoom works pretty well,” social studies teacher Kelsi Horner said. “It is nice to see faces and to let students see their peers, even if it isn’t for learning 100 percent.” 

When communicating with other staff, teachers have been using a different platform.

“We’re using WebEx as a staff so we’ve had department meetings and PLC meetings,” teacher Sarah Dent said.

However, teachers aren’t stopping there. Horner, along with social studies teacher Rebecca Anthony, have created Instagram accounts for their students to follow. They interact with students through posing fun questions and sharing images of each others’ pets.

“I knew I would miss the more fun and casual interactions with students, and that some students would miss those as well,” Anthony said. “Instagram can be interactive to some degree, so that has been nice.” 

With online learning, students can learn and research at their own pace. However, Anthony recognizes that here are also some disadvantages that come with the new program.

“While I think the district has done an admirable job getting distance learning up and going, it is in no way a replacement for face to face interaction,” Teacher Rebecca Anthony said. “Students have a hard time figuring out what they need to be doing and holding themselves accountable for staying engaged.”

For other teachers such as Dent, the forced adjustment can sometimes be overwhelming.

“It’s exhausting some days and not bad other days,” Dent said. “I’m over-consuming media COVID-19 data from around the world. I feel like a hypochondriac anytime I have to leave the house for supplies, which have only been a handful of times for my husband and me.”

Although grades are frozen, keeping up with work that teachers provide can help keep students active and continue to work their minds instead of using too much technology.

I think some are falling into a binge habit of Netflix and videogames, which is worrisome to me in that it could be a coping mechanism at this point,” Dent said. 

Dent feels that students should make sure to stay updated and stay in communication with their teachers for their own sakes.

“I wish that students felt a desire to keep learning because teachers weren’t done teaching for the year,” Dent said. “I know content is secondary to survival but for some students, keeping active and keeping up the online learning would be so beneficial to keep their minds sharp and adding variety to their days.”