Adjusting Education in a Milestone


Photo courtesy of Ms. McManaway

Students left to right: Albert Stice, Ian Lawson, Connor Wagner

The COVID-19 pandemic has made teaching very difficult for teachers, counselors, and students. As a community, it has been difficult to find new ways to adapt and overcome those challenges. Students and teachers at Silver Creek High School have been navigating the difficulties of hybrid learning since the pandemic first started.

Teaching is very difficult with the CoronaVirus pandemic because the students used to only come in half the time, and now they are having to adjust to the new fully in person schedule. Teachers have had to navigate through unseen challenges of hybrid learning and students and counselors are finding out what hybrid learning brings. Learning through a screen makes it difficult to stay focused, understand content, and be engaged in the class. It is also just as difficult to teach over online, it’s hard to tell if the students are paying attention when their cameras aren’t on, and also teaching around the new pandemic guidelines can be hard.

Students are suffering more than ever right now and there’s more need for help, however, students aren’t reaching out for the help they need. Andy Yeomans is a counselor at Silver Creek High School who helps his students as a resource and someone to turn to for guidance. For many students the pandemic has made them feel more isolated and worsened their mental health, and students are needing more guidance during this time to cope with the situation.
“Yes, I think there’s an increased need in a way because we’re all feeling more isolated and we’re all feeling a bit more withdrawn,“ says Yeomans, “some of those things we take for granted that really fuel us and brighten our world.” For some students, the support level has gone up and they are able to get the help they need. For others, they are just feeling more isolated and alone being online.

Even after all the students return to in-person school after Spring Break, there will still be a “pandemic wall,” Yeomans says. Since it has been a year of living through the pandemic, people are getting tired of doing things this way so eveyones’ motivation is currently lacking.

The counselors are responding to hybrid learning by actively trying to be more approachable, they want their atmosphere to feel safe, they are trying to get out in the hallways more, going into classrooms on occasions, having class registration meetings with students, and making sure to work with all grade levels. “We’re at a disadvantage…[as] counselors we’re a little more peripheral…we always encourage students to come seek us out.”

Other teachers are also dealing with hybrid learning in new ways; Carla McManaway, a Math teacher at Silver Creek, has been a teacher for 30 years and has never had to deal with anything like this before. Ms McManaway has been a math teacher for 30 years but just moved to Silver Creek this year, she is one of the teachers adjusting to the hybrid teaching environment and social distancing guidelines.

It’s not only the online aspect of teaching that is difficult to adapt to, “I’m used to using a lot of manipulatives and having students work in groups and pods, and that can’t happen right now,“ McManaway says. She has made a lot of changes to her teaching in the past year, she has made the groups work together by making her students “leaders” so that everyone participates. A Lot of teachers are struggling with this and coming up with new ways to get students interacting with each other.

One difficulty was having the students present their learning online. “It’s really hard to [have students share] in this format because I like to see what they’ve done first so I can pick certain methods and have them present in a particular order so it makes sense for students who maybe didn’t think of that idea,” McManaway said.

Another struggle in the hybrid environment is managing technology; it often takes twice as long to teach a lesson over online learning because she has to make sure everyone understands and is on the same page. “I can’t see into those dark screens to see if they’re there,” McManaway said.

A lot of teachers are still working through the changes of the pandemic to their teaching and the students have noticed that. Keely Weber, a junior at Silver Creek, is a teacher assistant for Ms. Neufeld, an English teacher, who has been at creek for years. She helps the teacher by running errands around the school, does small formatting fixes for the teacher, and sets up the Webex calls. “It is interesting to see the impact COVID has had on the teachers at school because everyone and everything is a lot different. It isn’t like the high school experience should be,” Weber says.

If you need any sort of educational or mental support Silver Creek encourages you to seek out your counselor and utilize their support to help you. Also, you can swing by your counselors office and introduce yourself to your counselor if you havent met them yet, or say hello.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown many challenges at the teachers of Silver Creek but the community have been able to overcome them and figure out ways to solve those difficulties.

Online learning has left many teachers in positions where they have to teach fully online through a computer or other devices. For teachers at Silver Creek High School they have half the students in the classroom and half the students online which is arguably even more difficult. Ms. McManaway, a math teacher said, “Just the technology, everything takes so much longer which makes it much more difficult to teach.” These are some of her in-person students who come into school half the week.