Teaching During COVID-19


Clara Franzoni

An Empty Classroom

There have been many changes this year during the COVID-19 Pandemic and teaching is certainly one of them. Teachers around the world have adapted lesson plans to teach online, with a hybrid model, or in-person with restrictions. Teachers at The Morgan School have been doing an exceptional job at teaching in-person while keeping their students safe.

Morgan started in a hybrid version for the first four weeks of school and then switched to full in-person learning. After five weeks of full in-person learning, the school transitioned to full online learning for the safety of staff and students. After a week of online learning, Morgan returned to the hybrid schedule for two days before returning to full remote learning. Students will continue to learn remotely until Thursday, December 3rd. All of these changes present a great challenge for both teachers and students.

All classes and teachers need to teach differently this year to best fit their course while also adhering to guidelines. In world language classes, normally there are many interactive activities and group activities, but this year students are not allowed to move from their desks to work with others making world language much harder to teach.

World Language Chairperson and Spanish Teacher Laura Luther has had to make many adaptations to class this year. When asked about one of the hardest things to deal with while teaching, Señora Luther said, “The blue line! It creates a box that I have to stand in the entire time. I can’t move around, I can’t walk around to check a student’s work. I just have to stay in that area.” Señora Luther understands that the blue line is for the safety of everyone in the class, but wishes it did not have to come to that.

Mrs. Luther – Tacky Tourist With Mask (Jonathan Blair)

Señora Luther also has to deal with keeping her class engaged when she is teaching behind the blue line. When asked about what she does to keep students engaged while learning, she said, “I try to still act crazy and change my voice to make sure my students are entertained.” Señora Luther then said, “I am also trying to give students more of a chance to talk because if we have to have 98-minute periods then we have to make sure that we are giving students a chance to be themselves, while at the same time learning in a strange environment.”

Señora Luther shared how she felt about the entire situation here at Morgan as well as in the world. She said, “Something like this has never happened. It’s bizzaro land, I want to snap my fingers and have it be over because not being able to see the students and being able to connect with them is absolutely horrifying to me.”

There are classes that are also completely reliant on student collaboration. Culinary Arts is one of those classes in which students are required to work together. Culinary Arts teacher Susan Murphy said, “Working during COVID-19 times in the food room requires a lot of planning of what recipes work well where folks do not have to work right next to each other.” Ms. Murphy has been doing a lot of extra work this year to keep her students safe while teaching them culinary skills. Ms, Murphy said, “I need to portion out ingredients and equipment ahead of time to allow for less touching.”

Ms. Murphy also said that sanitizing has remained very important in the classroom as it was even before the COVID-19 hit. Ms. Murphy was asked about how things are kept safe for students in the classroom, and she said, “Everyone wears masks the whole time we are in the room and gloves when appropriate. All aprons and towels are washed after every class with added bleach.” These safety measures will ensure that students are kept safe throughout class. One of the best parts of foods class is being able to eat what is made in that class. Ms. Murphy ensured that that can still happen, but under much stricter circumstances. She said, “Food that we create is packaged to go, and we sometimes we have the time to go outside, distance ourselves and eat, or folks take the food to go.”

Full remote learning has made things very hard for all classes, but culinary arts is presented with a greater challenge. Ms. Murphy said, “When we are remote, like this week, culinary students have some usual work to complete, such as kitchen math and measurement but also have a Lab Choice Board where they can choose what to cook at home from the list, submit pictures of mise en place and the final product, and share what the family thought!” This allows students to create food, and it gives them the chance to share with their families.

One of the students’ favorite classes at Morgan has been changed this year because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Gym class allows students to exercise while having fun with their friends. According to Assistant Principal Christopher Luther, “This year’s gym classes have been going on walks and creating their own workout routines.” This is very different from the normal tournaments that students would often participate in during gym class, but it gets the job done. Mr. Luther also added, “Students then get to show the class their routine if they chose to.” Even though class is different this year it can still be enjoyed by students.

Even classes like science have been struggling. Normally students would work together to do labs and  in proximity at tables, but this year that can not happen, Chemistry Teacher Alexandra Patterson said, “Everything is different. Normally I would have students collaborating and moving around the classroom to work in different groups.” Mrs. Patterson explained that she is adapting her instruction. She said, “I try to keep the students as engaged as possible, but that is a challenge when we can’t do things I would normally have us do.” Even though chemistry class is different this year students are still able to learn and enjoy class.

In the guidance department, secretary Janet Theiler offered some positive news. When asked about how the virus has affected her job, Mrs. Theiler said, “Actually, the virus has had a positive effect on my computer skills and what I do in the department.” Mrs. Theiler explained, “Colleges now come via Google Meets, and we are still able to accommodate the request of students and the colleges.”

Also in the guidance department, guidance counselor Myriah Rodowicz is feeling the effects of COVID-19 on her job. Mrs. Rodowicz said, “like all staff we’ve had to take safety precautions, but in doing so, we want to make sure students and staff still feel supported. We are doing as many meetings via Google Meet as possible, but if a student has an immediate need, we are able to meet one on one with students in our offices.” This is very helpful for students who need to meet with counselors

Non-teaching staff members of Morgan have also been affected by COVID-19. Substitute teacher Doug Astry has been working this year. Mr. Astry said, “Because of my age, I was a little nervous to come back and work, but I figured if I just wear my mask, I will be fine.” Mr. Astry felt comfortable once he returned to Morgan. He said, “I have been very pleased with how well students at Morgan have been doing with the safety protocols. They have been wearing their masks and even keeping social distance.” Morgan is always in need of substitute teachers, and it is great the Mr. Astry still wants to help, even during the pandemic.

Morgan staff and students have been trying their best to be safe by wearing masks and keeping social distance, Morgan students and staff will remain as safe as possible.  The Morgan PawPrint would like to thank all students and staff for doing what they can to keep themselves and everyone safe.