Morgan is a sophomore in her first year in journalism. She plays field hockey and lacrosse. Her hobbies include reading fantasy books and playing with...
Coping with COVID-19 Learning Challenges
March 3, 2022
As students of all ages throughout Fluvanna have been battling the learning challenges due to COVID-19, it might surprise them to see those challenges from a teacher’s point of view. While there is most likely no student or staff member that was not affected by the challenges, FCHS 8th grade English teacher Amy Bower and some of her students have a lot to say about the issue.
For Bower, some of the most challenging aspects of teaching last year included not being able to teach all students face to face, students not being able to interact with each other in-person, and not having a full class together on campus. This was especially difficult for students with disabilities or ADHD. “It was really hard to meet some of the IEP or 504 accommodations in the virtual world,” said Bower.
Being a teacher who enjoys involving students in games and group projects, Bower found it hard to work with these limitations. She said she enjoys the relationships built within the classroom, especially those between students and herself. She noted that last year’s Google Meet sessions were just not the same experience as having face to face interactions with all students. “Working side by side with students and having one-on-one meetings with them to revise their papers is one of the things I missed about ‘normal’ school,” said Bower.
Many things contributed to students having a hard school year last year. 8th grader Caylee Holsapple said that during virtual learning Google meet sessions at home, “I would sit back and do nothing and have fifty different missing assignments. I became antisocial and would be scared to talk to anyone and that made it kind of difficult to answer questions in class. I would pretend like I wasn’t even there so I wouldn’t have to answer.”
Holsapple said being back in person has made it easier to talk to people, but she still has her doubts sometimes. “I’ve been doing better in school, but it hasn’t helped me find a purpose. I feel like the whole break from school made everyone realize life isn’t that great and there’s no certain reason we’re alive,” she said.
Abdul Durham, another 8th grader in Bower’s class, said that when he was at home he had trouble staying focused and staying on top of school work. “When I was at home and could play on my consoles, I had to resist the urge to stray far from live meets and to do school work,” he said. Some of the challenges are still contributing to learning issues today. “The thing that is affecting me is that more things now are on the computers than they were two years ago,” said 8th grader Joseph Hunsaker.
Overall, Bower feels that the learning challenges of having been fully or partly virtual are still hard to overcome. Still, she feels that they made her stronger as a teacher. “My 8th-grade Language Arts team had the most positive impact on my last school year. We truly worked as a team and kept each other’s spirits up,” she said.
However, Bower noted that despite having everyone back at school, some aspects are still stressful for students and staff. “Each day feels like a mad dash with no time to breathe,” she said. Ultimately, she has high hopes that students will eventually bounce back to normal school life.