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Teachers on teaching during COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to take over the world and limit movement, more and more schools have been forced into online learning, most of them for the remainder of the year. Our teachers are doing their best to “roll with the punches” to help their students complete the school year with success, but they feel like they are spending more time on their duties while missing out on the interactions with students and classes. 

“I have been so thankful that I already had most of my lessons in video format and that my students were already used to using that format, so we were able to make a fairly seamless transition as far as the classwork goes,” science teacher Patrice Cox said. “I hate not being able to see my students every day; it’s a lot easier to tell if the content makes sense when I can see the looks on their faces while they’re learning it.”

Although online learning may seem simple, it’s harder for teachers than one might assume. Teachers are having to explicitly explain instructions to avoid confusion, help struggling students, and put in more time and effort to put together assignments that will work both on paper and online. Many teachers have been receiving a mix of results from students concerning school work. Some students are going above and beyond, while others are ignoring their duties.

Because I know this is a stressful time, I am staying very flexible with due dates and light on expectations,” teacher Melonie Menefee said. “That’s a tough adjustment for me because I have always tried to push my students to do their personal best, but without seeing them every day and being able to see what their needs and struggles are makes it really hard.”

Moreover, educators are also concerned for their students, whether it’s about school work, their safety, or the events that are missing out on. They are also experiencing sadness at the official closure of the school. Some teachers are leaving BISD this year and won’t be able to say a proper goodbye to their students. 

“It pretty much killed me when we heard the news that school would not resume this year,” Cox said. “As some may know, I will not be back at Buffalo next year, and I hate every second that I am in that classroom packing and cleaning- without the chance to say my goodbyes.”

Aside from their school lives, educators have their own families to think about. Some are using this time to grow and spend time with family. Math teacher Donna Vann said she has to be very careful because she takes care of her mother.

“I cannot risk bringing the virus home to her,” Vann said. “I go out to the grocery store, the post office and the school, and I have driven my mother to the doctor a couple of times, but I have to be very careful where I go.”

However, it’s not just school work that has been affected. Some coaches have had tryout dates pushed back and are behind on their schedules because of COVID. Cheer coach Mrs. Lack said she’s trying to have patience and “go with the flow.”

“Our program is behind on a few things, the biggest being not having a team yet,” Lack said. “We haven’t had fittings for new uniforms, the State team was supposed to already be practicing, and now we are just praying and hoping that we will be able to have camp.”

While at home and in quarantine, when teachers aren’t working, they are going about their lives as normally as possible. Despite this, some educators are dying for life to get back on track. Spanish teacher Rebecca Henson said she’s “tired of being stuck in quarantine.” 

“I really want to go shopping and get my hair and nails done; I also feel like I need a schedule and a little more structure in my life,” Henson said. “To stay busy, I have cooked a little more than often and sadly eaten more too, and we have also made a pact to work at least 5-6 horses every other day.”

As teachers continue to power through this uncertain time, people across the earth are grateful for their efforts to help their students stay successful, even in the midst of a dangerous pandemic. 

“I think we are very, very lucky to be in a rural community that has very few cases of the disease, and I think social distancing was needed, even though it’s hard,” Menefee said. “All I can do is what I can do, so I stay in as much as I can, I wear a mask when I go grocery shopping, I work to do the best I can with teaching remotely, and I pray for this to all work its way out very, very soon.”

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