Ochs continues supporting students, keeping in touch


Photographer: Photo provided by Matthew Ochs

Teacher Matthew Ochs has continued to support his students by checking up on them using Zoom.

Gannyn Dunn, Junior Editor

Through these difficult times that all students and staff are facing, teachers like Matthew Ochs take the extra step to make their students feel a little normal. With Zoom calls, Reminds and “Monday Morning Howdys,” AP U.S. History teacher Ochs keeps in touch with his students daily. 

“I send a ‘Monday Morning Howdy’ every week via Remind which is a Google Form checking in on my kiddos,” Ochs said. “I also have an open Zoom meeting ‘Office Hour’ where students can pop in and out if they need help, have questions or just want to chat.”

Ochs feels as if it is important to reach out to students right now to instill a sense of normalcy, and to make his students feel as if they have someone they can reach out to. 

“The world is unpended right now and there is no real accounting of the myriad of contexts that students are facing,” Ochs said. “Hopefully by reaching out to them they feel a) a little more in control of their circumstances and b) a check-in with their friendly neighborhood APUSH teacher helps them feel like things are a little normal.”

Although Ochs is reaching out to his students and contacting them regularly, he still has his doubts about the productiveness of distance learning. Ochs combats this by reading a lot about effective distance education.

“This is not really distance learning in a traditional sense, because none of my kids signed up for an online course,” Ochs said. “We are really in a ‘break the glass in case of emergency’ scenario. I certainly don’t feel 100 percent qualified to teach wholly online and if any of my kids consider me a ‘good’ teacher I hope they would tell you that’s because of the relationships we developed before we were all sequestered in our homes.”

Through all the stress and confusion, Ochs hopes that his students are not being too hard on themselves, as all of this is new.

“I hope the kids are giving themselves a lot of grace right now,” Ochs said. “No one signed up for this and some days will be better than others. I also hope they know that their teachers are really concerned about them, think about them a lot and we are all trying to do the best we can on their behalf in really challenging contexts. We miss and love our students.”