For new teachers, starting at a new school is always full of uncertainties. This year, starting during a pandemic only adds to the level of anxiety most teachers feel, new and veteran alike. Not only do these new hires have to start fresh at this school at such a weird time, but teachers who have taught here for years also have to change their curriculum to fit the new style of learning.
Jennifer Jasper is a new physical education teacher this year at BHS. Jasper not only has to learn a new online program but a whole new group of students as well.
“Coming into a new school district on top of learning a new online platform has been challenging. Usually I’m pretty good with names but it’s taking me a little time this year,” said Jasper. “I work with a great team and have great coworkers who are always willing to help when needed.”
Jasper is making the transition from elementary education to high school education.
“I’m used to an elementary pace which is always very quick and I used to have to be watching my students 100% of the time. With high school age students they are very self-sufficient which is nice,” said Jasper.
Although she is facing many challenges this year, Jasper is very optimistic for the remainder of the year.
“This is my first year at the high school level and so far I am really enjoying it. I have learned a lot and I know there will be more as the year goes on,” she said.
Another new teacher, Jerad Block, is running into similar setbacks. Block is finding the masks to be particularly difficult.
“It is tough to teach with a mask on. I feel like when I’m not able to see the faces of students it's harder to feel the room of how the lesson is going,” said Block.
Block student taught at BHS and has returned for his 14th year of teaching. He will be teaching history this year.
New teachers are not the only ones facing challenges this year. Jill Montgomery, who has been teaching at BHS for 37 years, faces several problems of her own.. For Montgomery, the primary challenge has been adapting to Canvas, the new learning management platform.
Even having been a teacher at the high school for so many years, Montgomery still struggles to adjust to the ever-changing technology.
“[Technology is] Definitely not a personal strength of mine, especially since I used a manual typewriter and had one phone attached to the wall in the kitchen when I was a teenager in the 1970’s. Last spring, my adult daughters (who are all teachers, too) helped me learn Google Classroom, and I’m still learning and adjusting to the technology piece of my job,” she said.
Out of all her years of teaching, this certainly is a year unlike any other.
“I never predicted this; in fact, this year still seems surreal in many ways,” said Montgomery.