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In My Words: Back to School-The Educator's Edition

2020 has been a big year for everyone, but for some people, the changes have made an extra impact. Teachers have been especially affected by the pandemic, and many of them have had to make major changes to their teaching style for this upcoming school year.

Learning Through Mistakes

For Melissa Sanger at Belfry Elementary, one of the biggest changes will be the switch to teaching classes entirely online by posting recordings of her teaching lessons in the classroom for her students to see, and striving to talk with the students online. She’ll also be encountering some personal changes. After teaching students in kindergarten or first grade for nineteen years, she will switch to teaching third grade this fall. Mrs. Sanger is excited to learn about the resources technology can offer, even though she knows there will be a learning curve. She says, “The motto of my classroom has always been we learn through our mistakes. So, myself and the kids may make a few mistakes getting started with the technology but we will learn and continue to move forward.”

Faith Over Fear

Other teachers have had to worry about changes to in-person learning. Amy Fletcher Simpkins, a kindergarten teacher at Williamson PK-8, is concerned with how to forge trusting relationships with her students while wearing a mask. “My biggest worry is that I have to wear a mask and social distance,” she says, “How are my 5 year olds going to see my smile? How am I going to reassure them or hold them when they are scared or sad? How are they going to know their teacher loves them beyond measure? These are the things I feel are most important.” Despite her concerns, Ms. Simpkins is excited, “I am super excited about meeting my new students and building special relationships with each as they grow and learn in a safe environment. Faith over Fear is my motto this year.”

Plenty of Changes

Like Mrs. Sanger and Ms Simpkins, Andrea Gilman, a counselor at Mingo Central High School, is worried about how these new methods are going to impact students’ education. “My biggest concern this year probably focuses more on our virtual learners. We want to make sure all students stay on track with their education and are supported from home,” Ms. Gilman says. “Teachers and staff will have to make adjustments to how they normally communicate with students and their families.” However Ms. Gilman says she is enthusiastic about finally seeing students again. She says, “I know the interaction will be different, but we miss them tremendously!”

For teachers everywhere, 2020 has changed things. Whether they’re teaching virtually or in person, teachers and school staff are concerned for the well-being of their students, and want to do all they can to help them out.

“2020 has become the year known for changes,” Mrs. Sanger says, “Teachers, like everyone else, have had to take the information they are given and make changes that are best for their students. It will be different, but myself along with all other teachers, will be working diligently to make sure all students are participating, learning, and succeeding.”

To everyone in our school systems, we want to you to know we appreciate your dedication and hard-work to continue reaching out to and educating the students. Good luck to you as you begin the 2020-2021 school year.

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