Teachers educate students across multiple settings

This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 6, 2020).

The 2020-2021 school year has started unlike any other year- it is definitely something for the yearbook. Teachers and students have had to adapt to new regulations and practices due to COVID-19. Most importantly the learning environment has changed significantly. Some of Oviedo  High School’s teachers are teaching online. 

Zachary Waters, a ninth grade history teacher, is teaching online for the first time this year. 

“Reorganization of time is the biggest difference,” Waters said. “With teaching virtually there are set call  times, then you have a lot of other time to work with kids  whether it be grading, contacting for progress updates or reaching out or responding to help requests.” 

The CDC guidelines have caused many teaching strategies to completely change. Shannon Nichols, an  English teacher, made the change to virtual this year as well. Some teachers have had issues getting to know some of their students this year through virtual classes. 

“This has been the hardest hurdle for me,” Nichols said.  “It is so hard to get to know my students virtually. So I have set up a series of one on one online meetings with my students. It still isn’t the same though.” 

At Oviedo High School, classes are like never before with students socially distancing themselves and teachers figuring out different ways to teach.  

Students in classes have been separated from each other and for some classes, students have been working solely on computers. 

“[There’s] no more working together in groups,” said Christopher Capp, 11th-grade physics teacher. “I now have  to make digital accommodations for all students, I have to  create different ways to do labs since group work is not  allowed.” 

Some teachers’ classroom setups have been changed due to this new adjustment to the school year. 

“I had to remove my “comfy chair” area,” said Kate Kammeraad, an AP Language teacher and Oviedo High  School’s Teacher of the Year.

“No one can be out of their desks, so no socializing in the comfy area. I also had to take away a tree because there wasn’t enough space.”  It is a new year and so much has changed from the last.  People wonder if a return to normal will ever come.

“I’m not sure things will ever go back to what we call  ‘normal,’” Capp said. “I think right now, I am growing as a  teacher to include more tools in my belt to help students as much as possible, but I don’t think the old ways of teaching will be coming back anytime soon. By then, I will probably  have it already set in my ways that this is the ‘new norm.’” 

Overall, while students and teachers have been stressed over how this year will go, and have experienced anxiety over all the changes, there is still some positivity out there.  

Skylar Rush, 11th and 12th grade English teacher, has been encouraging his students to not run away from the fear of change. 

 “Lower your shoulder, take a breath, and run full speed into it. Do the best you can and take it day by day,” Rush said.