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Teaching Through a Pandemic

By: Adam Renner

Across the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted high-school students, but let’s not forget about our educators. This year, Quaker Valley teachers have overcome challenges such as the fluctuating schedule, socially distant classrooms, and hybrid learning (just to name a few). These adjustments have not been easy and have required a multitude of curriculum changes. Here is what two teachers had to say about their experiences.

Madame Doerfler has been teaching French at QVHS for a number of years. “Focusing on the big picture has been key,” Mrs. Doerfler said in an interview. “Without everyone learning in person, this has required replacing things that were done in past years with more interactive activities. For example, french students participated in Manie Musicale this year, a national competition where students vote on their favorite french songs.”

Madame also noted that juggling new technologies, such as Zoom, has taken some getting used to. Although she has gained a lot of computer knowledge throughout the year, she still misses handing out actual papers. In addition, the current “hybrid learning model” has made it hard for teachers to focus their attention in one place. Not to mention, it makes building connections difficult. Fortunately, Mrs. Doerfler typically has students multiple years in a row.

On the other hand, Ms. Small started at QVHS this year. A tenth and eleventh-grade English teacher, Ms. Small says she’s lucky to have an awesome group of students with whom she’s been able to connect in spite of our current school situation. Similar to Madame Doerfler, Ms. Small also had to “pick and choose what was most important” when creating her lesson plans. This involved finding lots of online resources.

Both teachers noted that classroom discussions have been especially hard this year; however, everyone is trying their best. Ms. Small is impressed with the student body's resilience. Teachers and students have come a long way since the beginning of the year, and hopefully, we’ll be fully in person for the 2021-2022 school year.

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