Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed across the globe. But one thing has remained the same: teaching and learning need to continue for our students.
Since March of 2020, Mariemont City Schools has faced a daunting challenge: how do we keep all students, staff and the community safe and healthy while also providing the educational continuity needed to advance our learners? It is certainly not an easy task but the Mariemont City Schools teachers have been up for the challenge.
In the upcoming October issue of The Experience: The official newsmagazine of Mariemont City Schools, the district will feature seven teachers from all four school buildings. They will describe “teaching through a pandemic” in their own words and share what has changed about teaching this year, what is different in their own classrooms and what they have learned since March.
Below, read the experience of junior high Language Arts teacher Erica Eppert.
I teach 7th and 8th grade language arts as well as 7th grade Online Warriors.
Q: How has teaching changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: We, the students and staff, are truly in this together. As teachers, we like having answers for our students. However, teachers are learning how to Zoom, the most efficient way to clean desks, and the best format to communicate while masked with the students. We have not been afraid to admit that, as teachers, we will make mistakes. We are embracing learning from and with the students.
Q: How is teaching different for you specifically during the pandemic?
A: I miss watching a pair of students lean over a text together until they discover something or seeing a group of students collaborate and move around the room to share their ideas with others. In order to allow for student voice, I have held a microphone to the laptop so classmates can hear the ideas of our at-home learners. I have also projected students’ work to view in Zoom sessions and taken students outside to safely collaborate. I am definitely still searching for creative ways to allow for safe communication and collaboration in the classroom.
Q: What is one thing you have learned from teaching during a pandemic?
A: I have been reminded of the importance of being present. I am a planner; I want to know what tomorrow, next week, and even next month will be like. However, I have accepted that I can’t do that now. I have this moment, and I do the best I can with that. I am grateful for each minute I have in the classroom with students because I know that there may be a time when we may not be together. While I think of lessons and plan for the future, my energy and focus is in the present.