Learning To Cope

Students and teachers are finding ways to deal with extended absences

Mrs.+Franke+records+all+of+her+lessons+for+each+class+so+absent+students+can+stay+caught+up.

Sruthi Ramesh

Mrs. Franke records all of her lessons for each class so absent students can stay caught up.

Elizabeth Hamby, Reporter

It’s no secret that students are disappearing slowly but surely, due to the switch to five days a week; but what adjustments are being taken to continue their education? Teachers all over the building are dealing with absences in their own ways. 

Mrs. Franke, an English teacher, has started to post recordings of her class periods to help her students get their work done that they would be missing.

If I’m going to be giving any kind of instruction, I turn on my screen recorder on my computer and record what I’m showing students on the Smartboard as well as my voice. This way, students that are absent can watch the videos and get the exact same instruction at home that they would have gotten in class,” Franke said. 

It’s important to remember that not only students are being affected by this harsh reality, it’s also hard on the teachers as well.

“I spend at least two hours a night at home working on school stuff.  This is usually spent grading late work and getting agendas set up for the next day.  It’s also making sure that I have all of my emails caught up- I get anywhere from 50-100 emails a day now as opposed to last year where I’d get 5-10 emails a day,” Franke said. 

A first full-year teacher, Mrs. Fedderson, who replaced teaching U.S. History last year, is now teaching Cultural Geography and AP U.S. History, also referred to as APUSH. 

I spend at least two hours a night at home working on school stuff.  This is usually spent grading late work and getting agendas set up for the next day. It’s also making sure that I have all of my emails caught up- I get anywhere from 50-100 emails a day now as opposed to last year where I’d get 5-10 emails a day.”

— Mrs. Franke

She has had to make extreme adjustments for the multitude of students that are out due to extended absences. 

“I’ve had to prioritize what assignments and content is most important in order to not overload the students who are at home,” Fedderson said. 

And just like teachers should, she is learning tons of new strategies and skills due to the circumstances. 

I am constantly learning. I’ve had to be flexible, work with my students, and empathize with the difficult situation we are all facing. I think we’ve all realized the importance of teamwork and cooperation at a time like this,” Fedderson said. 

When junior Christina Bertenshaw was taken out from school as a result of extended absences, she commented on the quality of the online school. 

“It was okay, it was hard to keep up without any kind of instruction, but it was doable.” 

 She also explains how the teachers impacted her time at home. 

“A few teachers reached out. It was mainly to reiterate that everything would be on Canvas, and well wishes,” Bertenshaw said. 

2020 is a tough year, very few are denying that, but with empathy for others, it may become a little bit more bearable.