Teacher Reflection of 2020-2021 School Year
With the 2020-2021 school year coming to an end, teachers were asked to speak on how this year went. The Coronavirus pandemic caused schools all over the country to shut down for months on end, causing lesson plans to change and students to miss out on a year of learning. NHS students and teachers are able to finish their school year with in-person instruction. After asking three NHS teachers how they felt about this unusual year, each had a lot to share.
Mr. Bryan Abbio, who teaches history at NHS, shared his mixed feelings about this long, stressful year coming to an end. Like many other educators he explained, “while we were online at the beginning of the year it was more difficult to get to know my students and best assist them.” Furthering his opinion he explains, when the transition back to in-person was made it became easier to teach. Yet, it still had its difficulties when having to balance both in-person and online students.
Another teacher working in the history department, Mrs. Nicole David feels this year was exhausting and missed the social aspect from school. “There are times it feels like this year is flying by and then there are times that feel like it will never end”, she states. As this school year was like no other, Mrs. David shared, “Teaching to an empty classroom was horrible, I was so excited to have my students back in front of me. Teaching remotely was a great way to make sure the students did not miss a year of learning, but it was not the same. I missed having an interactive classroom and working with my students in person on a daily basis.”
David believes that students did not lose motivation, rather they thought their distractions were more interesting. Yet there were still students who stayed motivated all year and worked as hard as they could, she said. As a message to students, she says, “Start getting ready for September now, put the phone down, and take the AirPods out!!!”
As co-teachers for some classes, Bryan Abbio and Nicole David believe students are well prepared for the next school year. Nicole David explains, “I have watched many of my co-workers come up with inventive ways to make sure their classes are learning and growing educationally.”
Likewise, Bryan Abbio says, “it is not only students who will have to plan and prepare for the next school year teachers, but we ourselves will also have to plan accordingly.” Speaking on behalf of The History Department, Abbio and David share they’re planning ways to reintroduce students to the building with care. The History Department is already using this time to prepare lessons to benefit their students.
Latin teacher, Mrs. Amelia Lodato has mixed emotions focusing on this school year. Explaining the sense of relief and peace she has with herself, yet, not satisfaction. “It doesn’t feel like a typical end of the year with its usual excitement. I just feel like I never had enough time to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. I think my feelings are also complicated by the fact that I am teaching virtually until the end of the year and going on maternity leave in the fall.”
Amelia Lodato also shared that she believes students and teachers missed out on everything that makes school fun. “I miss doing all the fun things I love and seeing students light up when they understand something, or being able to help them more effectively in live time. As I am teaching virtually the remainder of this year, I feel even more so how much I am missing those relationships,” she said. However, Mrs. Lodato is very happy that the school year is able to end in-person and feels it has also benefited her students' mental health.
Without the ability to experience a full year of normal learning, NHS is fortunate to be able to end with in-person teaching. Each teacher is relieved the school year is coming to an end, but still wishes this year could have been more normal.