Positivity Makes It Work

by Samantha Daugherty and Emily Dottle

Schools around the world are tackling a huge problem this year and doing so in many different ways.  In fact, even neighboring districts have taken vastly different approaches to what education should look like in light of the current pandemic.  Shenango has a consistently positive outlook on keeping students safe during this difficult time of Covid-19. 

Part of these safety measures has included giving students the option of being taught by their Shenango teachers if they have elected to learn from home.  Though this option is beneficial, it comes with challenges for Shenango staff.

It’s asking the teachers to be two types of teachers at the same exact time, so it’s challenging for them to be able to multitask those two groups,” Dr. McCormick explained. “We want to make sure both of those groups have a good educational and meaningful experience.”

Students and teachers alike are rising to the challenge.  English teacher Mrs. Butchy applauded the way the incoming seventh graders have adjusted. “I’m continuously impressed by our students’ ability to adapt. The transition to seventh grade is tough enough as it is, and my students are doing well

All of the teachers had to make changes, but some, like music teachers Mrs. Leali and Mr. Butchy, were affected more than others. “We [now] have to use the auditorium for choir,” Mrs. Leali explained.  “There [has to be] three empty seats between each singer, and we also have to skip a row, all while wearing our masks and staying safe.”

“I really don’t like wearing masks because I can’t see my students’ facial expressions,” Mr. Butchy noted.  “[However], my favorite part is being back in school and actually seeing my students again.”

Although these changes are different and in many ways difficult, Dr. McCormick appreciates the students’ and faculty’s cooperation during these tough times. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the student body and staff really have done with all of the changes.”

Mrs. Slamecka, math teacher, echoes Dr. McCormick’s sentiments. “Although teaching both in-class and virtual learners synchronously has been challenging and difficult at times, I have learned so much through this process.  I have collaborated more with my colleagues than ever before, which has opened my eyes to many new ideas and opportunities that I will continue to incorporate into my classes even after this pandemic is over,” she said.  “I am extremely thankful that I have the opportunity to work with such creative, inventive, and dedicated professionals.”

Mrs. Miller also looks on the bright side regarding these adjustments. “There have definitely been technology hiccups (like teaching a lesson with my microphone muted the entire time), but I am thankful to have the opportunity to try synchronous learning.I have loved working together with other teachers to design a strong remote-learning model, and I feel like I have become a better teacher in the process!” 


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