How are teachers managing online school

Due to the presence of COVID-19 in Columbia, sixth through twelfth grade students will continue online. Being online is a challenge for students, but how are the teachers of those students managing? 

Teachers that normally rely on hands-on learning are finding that the curriculum they would normally use does not work online. 

“I love being a science teacher because of labs and activities and group work and collaboration, that’s really hard to achieve over the virtual setting,” explained Kelsey Mescher, science teacher.

Event though the online school is challenging, teachers like Amy Jammeh, Spanish 1 teacher, are happy to be with students.

“The good part about it is now I am able to interact with students. [Teaching] it online [is] not the most ideal especially with language learning where it’s important for you to have a lot of oral repetition practice that would be better suited in-seat,” explained Jammeh. 

Jody Spriggs, art teacher, explained what she has had to change to teach art from home, like the loss of the dark room for photography development. 

“Our virtual photography courses focus more on photography principles [rather] than a physical darkroom experience,” explained Spriggs.

Other teachers are finding the online classroom environment to be difficult when trying to teach their students. Hannah Nandor, chemistry teacher, finds not seeing students’ faces on Zoom difficult.

“It makes it seem like I’m talking to myself all day. It’s hard not to have the visual feedback of facial expressions and body language to know when students are struggling,” explained Nandor.

Labs in science class are different online. Nandor explained how by using YouTube she has been able to keep labs in the unit.

“I’ve been working with other AP chemistry teachers at Hickman and Rock Bridge to make the videos together. We’ve created a segment on YouTube called ‘Ladies in the Lab’ and we’re trying to have fun with it,” said Nandor.

Spriggs explained what she has gained from the new perspective of teaching in a new environment, such as AP art students building their own websites to display their artwork.

“It is applicable to job searches and college applications, I will definitely keep doing that with future years of students,” said Spriggs.

Mescher stated that the challenge of teaching online is hard, but not always a bad thing to go through, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

“I think COVID has made teachers go back to the drawing board and really, really, really, make sure that their curriculum and what their teaching is really centered around what students need and what they want to learn,” said Mescher.