Greenwood Teachers Give Insight On How They Are Educating Students During a Pandemic


By Emma Dowell, Reporter

In the Month of March every student and teacher thought that it would be a short break, but little did they know what was in store for the rest of the school year. The Coronavirus hit the United States hard in the early months of 2020. Schools were being shut down and kids had to revert to online schooling. Teachers were little equipped to handle such an abrupt change to their new format of teaching. As the 2019-2020 school year came to a conclusion and summer began. The school system decided if they wanted to go back for the 2020-2021 school year they were going to have to make some changes. 


Now we are coming to the 2020-2021 school year and students have resumed either an A-B hybrid schedule or total online school. This new change has caused many students and teachers to be stressed at times, but they realize it is for their best interest in their health and well being. Teachers have had to go through trials and tribulations when adapting to their new norm of educating students. They’ve had to go from coming into their classroom and seeing 30 students to now coming into their classroom and seeing 8-11 students. Many of us are wondering, “How are teachers handling all of this?” Well, luckily we have some teachers who are willing to share their experiences with this new system. 


Greenwood High School teacher Lisa Jenkins gave us her perspective on adapting to this new online learning. Lisa Jenkins, “I’m excited to be back in school with students. 2 days are great, but at times I wish it was 3 (rotating Fridays).I think it’s great we have managed the AB so well. This may be the new normal for a while. Planning and organization are the key to success this year.  Hopefully teachers and students have developed rapport with one another. I love the smaller classes but I would love to see you all back together.” From this, Lisa Jenkins tries to stay optimistic and hope for the best. She has scouted out that planning and organization is how she keeps herself together and is able to keep her students all in line as well. She also adds from her statement, “But judging the amount of work students are getting is a concern for all teachers. We tend to forget you have 3 other classes. Once students get behind it’s hard to catch up so working daily is a must. Plus doing equal work on each class will help.” This could be helpful to not only teachers but students as well. This plays a huge role in why students are so stressed. The amount of work some teachers hand out can take a huge toll on students and their ability to finish their work accurately and efficiently. To add on, Lisa Jenkins is pointing out that sometimes she as a teacher had to realize what students are going through and puts herself in their shoes. Lisa Jenkins later goes on to say that the biggest issue with the new teaching style is the communication part. The communication between a student and teacher is very minimal, therefore students have to go home and teach the new skills to themselves. Jenkins says that this can be a huge issue to students who have a hard time grasping concepts with no guidance from a teacher. 


Another one of Greenwood’s Teachers, Laura Leeper has been used to teaching in a more traditional style but she now has to adapt to the use of technology in her classroom. Laura Leeper, “I’ve have had to adapt to remote learning by becoming proficient with tools that aid in instruction, assessment, and communication with my students on a daily basis. Prior to this year, I was not interested or competent in designing virtual lessons or meeting with my students virtually to collaborate and address questions. A positive that will come from this is my professional growth with tools that aid in effective virtual learning.” Laura Leeper is explaining how she is so used to handing out worksheets and teaching in front of students that she is now having to adapt to new tools like the platform Google Classroom and also things like online labs and online worksheets. Laura Leeper also includes, “First and foremost, I miss having and seeing my kids on a daily basis. Due to that, it has taken longer to establish relationships with my students, it’s been challenging to monitor student progress and misconceptions when I only see them twice a week, and students inability to collaborate with each other makes it harder to promote student learning and student led discussions in class.” Laura Leeper raises concerns that most teachers are facing. The bond between a student and a teacher is key. As a teacher, making connections with students will better help their ability to grow and feel comfortable in the classroom. 


Finally, the last teacher interviewed, Greenwood High School teacher Emili Terry. Emili Terry gives us her experience on changing her teaching style to better her students. Emili Terry, “I usually like to do a lot of games, group work, and hands-on activities. I hate that we can’t really do any of that, but I’m spending a lot more time trying to find new and fun ways to present information and practice it. Changing my teaching style has been the biggest change for me, but it’s been interesting to see myself grow and learn alongside my students. They’ve been so patient with me and understanding of the mistakes I’ve made in Google Classroom and in lessons.” Emili Terry is a very hands on teacher who loves doing group work and hands on learning. As she has made her corrections to her assignments she is not only bettering herself but also showing her students that she cares for them as well. Emili Terry goes on to say that she is proud of the resiliency of her students and their patience to cooperate with her and the assignments she puts out in her Google Classroom. 


To conclude, teachers are doing their best to adjust to this new form of teaching. Every teacher interviewed has shown and said that they do their best to take criticism and use it to better themselves and their students. Although this isn’t what they expected teaching to be, they are giving it their all so that they make sure students walk out of Greenwood High School with the best education possible. It has been made pretty clear that teachers aren’t backing down to this virus but conquering it!!!