Teachers adapt to pandemic


Students were not the only ones to ask the question: how will we learn amongst a global pandemic? The teaching staff was asking the same question, the answer being in the form of online learning. 

“We did not have time to plan. The decision came very quickly,” IB Spanish teacher Pamela Dentler said. “We were told we could come in to grab what we needed, but were not allowed to stay long or make multiple trips.”

At first, both students and teachers had a hard time finding the right way to attack or plan out online learning. 

“Going to school online was a bit challenging at the beginning because I had to figure out a good schedule to fit all my classwork in,” junior Ashton Ging said. 

However, as the weeks went by some students found a way to do their work in a way they have never done before. This was not achieved alone; teachers came up with new innovative ways for students to be productive through online learning. 

“Online is not for everyone, just like traditional learning is not for everyone. Some struggled, but it was a change in learning from our regular routine,” AP U.S. History teacher Angela Wagner said. “I am just proud they persevered and tried their best. We were in uncharted territory.”

Adapting to online learning is a difficult task. To succeed in these unforeseen times both students and teachers have to work together. 

“The relationship piece is the key factor, however. My students know I care and that I will do everything within my power to ensure their success,” Dentler said. “But they also know that it is a two-way street and they must hold up their end of the deal.”

Some of the adjustments teachers made for online teaching include trying to keep topics/information or notes clear and concise, have grace, patience and breathe every day, try to keep the same routines and structure online and constantly keep in touch with my students and families.

These adjustments many teachers made allowed students to ease into online learning, some even becoming comfortable with the idea of online learning. 

“I feel like the teachers handled it very well. I feel like they tried to teach us to their best ability online, but it was difficult to learn that way,” Ging said.

One of the biggest adjustments for teachers was many AP tests were shortened or formatted differently than in past years. This created some difficulties because teachers could only hope that their students were prepared for these tests.

“We had prepared them for sections of the [AP] test that were now eliminated from the 2020 test,” Wagner said.

This limited time in the classroom was used up, meaning there was material to catch up on. To improvise,  teachers spent many remote days to specifically prepare students for the sections on the AP test. 

The COVID-19 pandemic took away many memories for the school year, including the last half of the year for seniors. Their teachers were especially disappointed because they were unable to see the seniors in the last part of high school.

“I had seniors that I had had since their 7th grade year. I did not get to say goodbye or properly celebrate them,that was very hard,” Dentler said. 

Instead of worrying about what COVID-19 took away from the classroom, classes took advantage of this time and ventured into topics that were impacting students.

“We engaged in topics that were current…mental health needs, COVID-19, etc and really made any ‘live’ class an authentic experience for whatever the needs of the day were…it was pretty fantastic actually,” Dentler said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon many obstacles to the classroom, however, teachers have faced this head on and will now prepare themselves for any other unexpected changes. 

“I have since worked tirelessly to make an impossible situation possible by loading up with as many new tools as I can get my hands on,” Dentler said. “This year’s motto: Just breathe and keep moving forward.”