Teachers are finding ways to engage students virtually

Jenna Hale

As 2020 presents more challenges, teachers are adapting to the constant change in their schedules, and working towards having productive and effective classrooms, even with the obstacles this year presents. 

Teachers are learning to lean on each other for support; sharing ideas, motivation and advice with each other to make the changes of this year easier to deal with. The teachers in the math department help each other by splitting up the workload and taking turns creating lesson videos for students to watch at home.

“We are all doing flipped classrooms,” Math teacher Anna Costello said. “So we try to divide up the lessons so one person isn’t making all the videos. My students are watching my lessons at home and then doing the ‘homework’ in person with me.”

Teachers in interactive subjects are trying to keep up with the demand for engaging lessons with demos over Zoom calls and assignments over teams. However, there is a struggle to keep students engaged with the material through a screen when they would normally be learning in person. 

“I’m doing labs myself, in front of my students and on Zoom rather than kids doing it themselves with a lab partner,” Chemistry teacher Michael Meinert said. “I’m trying to include students who aren’t even in the room, trying to make all the content accessible to everyone when not everyone can get access.” 

Engaging students in the classroom is widely thought by teachers and students to be more difficult due to the lack of time that teachers have with the students. Some teachers are looking at it from a different perspective, they enjoy the smaller classrooms because they are easier to teach at one time instead of having bigger classrooms with more behavioral issues with the kids.

“Building and maintaining those relationships with students would be the most challenging if we go full distance,” English teacher Taylor Ernst said.“ It’s so important that students are engaged, and that starts with a good relationship with your teacher.”