Teachers reconnecting with their students

Following a year of distance learning teachers are trying new things


Sophia Lippel / Talon

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced most people to change the way they do their daily jobs, teachers had to re-examine their teaching method and make adjustments to abide by the new normal. 

For some teachers who never used technology in their classrooms, learning how to post on Google Classroom and use Meet during their class periods was a new task. For teachers whose curriculum included tests or exams, figuring out new ways to test students in order to avoid cheating at home was another adjustment. 

As distance learning is now (hopefully) a thing of the past and Oak Park Unified School District students are back at school full-time, teachers must adapt once again to reconnect with students. Instead of screen barriers, there are physical distance barriers like masks and social distancing not to mention the after-effects of an interesting year. 

Here are how some teachers are checking in on their students and reconnecting after a crazy year:

Leslie Miller told the Talon that she has a questionnaire at outset to learn about her students. 

[My] students also choose cooperative groups and sometimes I choose cooperative groups that way people connect with their friends and then also meet new people,” Miller said. 

Science Department Chair Winnie Sloan also uses questions to connect with her students.

“I do daily ‘check-Ins.’ Students respond to prompts surrounding SEL, mental health, organization, stress management, how they are feeling, what they are looking forward to etc,” Sloan said. 

Science teacher Allison Kerr uses daily meditation to help students handle stress better as well as daily check-ins that she calls “smiles and frowns” 

“I started doing ‘smiles and frowns’ at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. I wanted to do something that helped to create camaraderie between students and also wanted to do something that helped me get a feel for the general vibe of students that day, how stressed they may be, things like that. I genuinely enjoy hearing about my students’ days and lives, and this gives me a quick way to be able to do that,” Kerr said.