Since the spring of this year, learning has been changed forever. Teachers have been teaching virtually and are now preparing for the hybrid instruction.
The unexpected global pandemic sent the entire nation into a panicked uproar, leaving teachers and administrators to find ways to provide the strongest education possible.
It has been a bit over six months since Maryland first closed its schools in March, and online learning began. According to some teachers, these past six months have included a learning curve. It has been a bit over six months since Maryland first closed its schools in March
Math teacher Sean Connolly commented, “You have to be flexible and look at the big picture. We have learned through this pandemic — if we have not already learned this lesson already — that things can change in an instant, and life can be difficult at times.”
Teachers, in order to be better prepared for this school year, attended Vice Principal of Academics Jake Hollin’s and Director of Technology Greg Russell’s professional development sessions during the summer. Sessions provided instruction on Veracross, Microsoft Teams, and online tools.
Physical Education teacher Teresa Gauthier said that these sessions were “really helpful.”
Mr. Connolly also took two online classes that dealt with online learning: “Blended Learning” and “Activating the Student Voice Using Digital Tools.” He gained an understanding of “some interesting teaching techniques and discovered some good websites and online tools” that he now incorporates into his classes.
However, even though teachers were prepared Mrs. Gauthier said that “the first couple of days were really stressful because there was no good way to practice a Teams class and sharing your screen and knowing what the students see [outside of a normal class].”
Teaching PE in spring was different than every past year for Mrs. Gauthier. She taught her very interactive class by “giving them an assignment each day like a two-mile walk or run, yoga video, Darbee poster workout, meditation, or their favorite sport. They then had to email me about their workout.”
Another challenge, according to Religion teacher David Huber, has been tests and quizzes.
Mr. Huber commented that the tests and quizzes “probably should be open note, which I’m comfortable with; but there’s really no way for me to know if my students are texting answers to each other while they’re taking a test or quiz. Before each test and quiz, I remind them not to share answers with each other, but there’s no way I can know whether or not they’re doing it.”
Mrs. Gauthier said that online learning is “getting much better” and that “the kids are great and doing a good job.”
Many JC students haven’t been back on campus since the closing in March, something that will change beginning next week.
Mr. Huber added an analogy to which Marylanders can relate. “John Carroll, which is normally like Ocean City in July, is more like Ocean City in January. The place is a ghost town without students. . . With everything else, I’m getting used to it, but it’s still a little surreal.”
Mrs. Gauthier emphasized that she misses the “interaction, conversation and just moving around the classroom.”
No matter what happens in the future for JC, Mr. Connolly added, “It is important to focus on all of the blessings that God has given us, and remember that He loves us and is always with us.”