The 2020-2021 school year has been challenging for everyone, including students, parents, and teachers.
“The most challenging part of the year for me has been trying to focus when I go virtual for the day,” said John Lindgren, senior at Burrell High School. “It's just very difficult to go to class after class while sitting in the same spot all day.”
Parents, on the other hand, had to deal with helping their kids through the experience.
“Initially for me, it was keeping my kids focused, in light of all the changes and disruptions,” said Eric Stull, parent to two high school students. “What I stressed to my kids was don’t get hung up with what is going on around you, focus on your classes.”
And for teachers, a huge problem was finding the time to shift their lesson plans to be more virtual in nature.
“A lot of time is spent creating and finding lessons and activities that work on Google Classroom for all students — whether they are at home or in-person,” said Catherine Rudolph, high school chemistry teacher.
Despite all these challenges, Lindgren, Stull, and Rudolph have all found ways to succeed.
“I have tried to take a few little breaks throughout the day between classes, to try and take myself away from the computer screen,” Lindgren said.
“The grumbling has been minimal, and they have shown patience with all the new processes and procedures the teachers are dealing with,” Stull said. “The one thing they did not do is use this year as an excuse not to be successful.”
“At the beginning of the year when the schedule was new and we were all trying to figure things out, students and teachers were patient with each other and forgiving of mistakes,” Rudolph said. “Now, we have more of a routine and some of the bumps have been smoothed over. When students need me to slow down, speed up, or just spend a little extra time with them, they can let me know through private comments on individual assignments or via email.”
Of course, the decisions Burrell School District made have had a big hand in facilitating this school year's success.
“Giving kids the option to either go in person or online, depending on the day, has made our experience a lot easier,” Lindgren said.
“The way the district handled this year, you could tell that extensive planning was done by all prior to the school year,” said Stull. “Very well-thought-out and executed from teaching, buildings, and grounds, to communication.”