As the 2020-2021 school year at Woodbridge High School progresses, so do the teachers and their methods in the “classroom.” From using new applications, to dealing with challenges, teachers at Woodbridge High School have adapted to a number of challenges during the pandemic.
Mr. Switek is one of those teachers that has had to adapt to all of the changes in this school year. He teaches English, with the classes English 2 Honors and AP Language this semester. Throughout both classes he has had to be “innovative and flexible with material and expectations.”
He says, “given that every class is 24 minutes shorter, there are certainly chapters I’ve summarized for students…I am really blessed with the schedule I have and the students I teach, so there are not necessarily lessons that don’t work, but there are experiences that just don’t work via Google Meet.”
“If I want to share a quick video with my students because I feel as though that media will add to their understanding or because it is “fun”, I have found that sharing video does not work seamlessly. And sharing a link means that my students are watching on their own instead of in the group setting, so the experience is different.”
He also believes that he has “in-person’ energy, especially with his “famous stories.”
As for major assignments, Mr. Switek has been using Google Forms for it. However, group work has been “tricky”. Presenting projects and information has been “going well”.
Another teacher that spoke about the new learning methods was Mr. Sienkiewicz. He teaches Social Studies/History, with the classes World History II and AP World History this semester.
“There have been two huge adjustments I have had to make due to remote learning. The first is pacing. I’m so used to having 85 minutes in a typical block when we are in school that it took me some time to adjust to the 60 minutes we have on the remote. I have had to get better at trimming the fat off of my lessons and focusing only on what’s the most important thing I want to communicate to my students.”
“Second, I found that much of my effectiveness as a teacher depends on my physical performance in class. In a way, I feel that a big part of teaching, of what gets students to buy into what you’re selling, is your performance. That’s impossible to duplicate through a computer screen, so I find that to be very difficult.”
Most of his major assignments are projects so he has had to make major changes; such as making them more individualistic. Google Forms and Jamboards have been useful for his class. Keeping the students busy is also a tactic Mr. Sienkiewicz has been using it to make sure the students are interacting and paying attention.
Most teachers have had to change so much about their teaching, lessons, and methods.
Mr. Switek said this to end the interview, “I am proud of all of the students and honored to work with the teachers of Woodbridge High School during this unusual school year.”