People may think the education year is over; that is certainly not the case for teachers and administrators among Stettler School Divisions. In late March, Alberta schools closed their doors for students and took learning online. After speaking with three different teachers; we got the scoop on online education.
Kerry Petersen, grade 1 and 2 teachers for Botha Elementary School has the fun, yet challenging job of teaching the youngest kids at the school. The school day for Mrs. Petersen now consists of working from home, creating online assignments on Seesaw, and reaching out to her students. Previously, online work was not applied much for Kerry’s students; now all work is sent through Seesaw. It was the introduction of new technology to which Kerry had to adjust the most. Another major adjustment includes the absence of face to face conversations with students. Kerry stated she misses being able to read the kids and know when to help.
On a positive note Mrs. Petersen states the students have also gained independence with their school work.
“Thank you to all parents, it can’t be easy stepping in and taking on the teacher role.” - Kerry Petersen
Tara McMillan, junior high teacher, and Principal for Christ King Catholic School, spoke about her recent journeys. The day for the school principal is centered around morning meetings, phone calls, answering emails, creating memos, and doing projects around the school. One upside to the closing was the fact that administrators and teachers were encouraged to learn their way around additional technologies. Another positive is the creativity that staff members have used to enhance education among students. McMillan noted that once things get back to normal, she is looking forward to having a school wide assembly and seeing all her students.
“ Parents are doing a fantastic job supporting kids and having patience with teachers and themselves. When we get to June, I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing summer.” Tara McMillan
High School English, Social Studies, and Aboriginal Studies teacher, Jenna Younghans was the last teacher interviewed about the adjustments towards teaching. A substantial portion of Jenna’s day goes into answering emails, questions from students, staff meetings, and online google meets with students. Prior to the shutdown, Mrs. Younghans used Google Classroom for all classes and that led to an easier transition; “the online work was just heightened.” Younghans mentioned it is hard to have in-depth discussions with students and even more difficult to check in with them. Another major adjustment for the High School teacher was when restricted access to the school was put into place. At the start of the lockdown, Jenna would go to the school as if it was a normal school day. The change in routine when teachers were sent home, was an aspect that was said to be very challenging. A positive view from Mrs. Younghans would be focus points of the students; there is less stress about tests, therefore leading to amazing work on assignments.
“ It has become a realization of how important human contact is and how we may not have noticed how much we need each other.” Jenna Younghans
Riley Turre, Youth Reporter