This year looks completely different for teachers

Katie Barton | staff writer

As Spanish teacher Kristie Vick starts her zoom class, she begins to put students into break out rooms, as she thinks back to the interactive classroom she had pre-pandemic and brainstorms new ways to still make this a great year. 

Social studies teacher Ruth Kimmel adjusts to working with her students remotely.

“I can’t do the same kinds of activities online as I normally do in person. I love to do lots of games and activities where we get up and move, and that’s a real con,” Vick said. “It’s just not possible right now.” 

Even though classes are online, teachers are still finding creative ways to give students an interactive experience. 

“I’ve had to adapt that to the breakout rooms,” Vick said. 

Breakout rooms are a very useful tool for teachers that allow students to do group work like they would in a normal classroom. 

“It’s pushed us beyond what we’ve normally done. To look at other resources that we would have never looked at before,” Biology teacher Leticia Noriega said. “I think it’s caused us to become more creative in that regard and just expanding our own little toolbox of what we use to teach you guys.”

Online learning this semester and online learning last spring look very different to teachers and students.

“Obviously we didn’t have any time to plan. It was all new. Zoom was new to everybody,” Noriega said.

Students and teachers now have a schedule to follow which is entirely different from what was used last year. 

“The structure necessary wasn’t there as far as having you guys held accountable to that schedule. And so I feel like now that there is a schedule and you’re following that schedule just as you would if you were in classes in person,” Noriega said. “I think that that creates just a better educational environment.”

This past week, Johnson started phase 3 of their plan to bring students back into schools – meaning that teachers often have some students in the classroom and the rest on zoom. 

“You want to give everybody the attention that they need when you have students in your classroom and online. It’s a constant juggling of making sure that you’re keeping tabs of your students who were zooming, and then checking in with the students that are in your room,” Noriega said. 

For many teachers, part of what makes them love their job is getting to be around and inspire students. 

“I love being in the classroom with students. And so do all the teachers here. So it takes on a different feel when you’re not able to,” Noriega said. 

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