High School Teachers- The Underrated Heroes


Photo/Allie Peters

Freshman Nina Sparrow speaks to Danielle Ambrosia and classmates during Learning Enrichment. The Learning Enrichment classroom projects student faces onto the wall while Ambrosia showed in-person faces on their computer when answering questions on Sept. 1, 2020.

Allie Peters, Staff Editor

Students are not the only people who have had to adapt to this unique school year. The uncertainty surrounding the 2020 school year has affected many teachers as they’ve adapted to a school year like no other by developing new curriculum and teaching methods in order for students to learn no matter the setting. 

Many teachers have been challenged by this year’s different learning options. The overall feel of classes has shifted in an effort to make classes as accommodating as possible. Freshman English teacher Danielle Ambrosia said that her classroom has changed to online options for books, worksheets, and reflections so everyone to access them. Geometry teacher Shelly Soltis said that she has had a difficult time teaching complex lessons when students are not in person. She has had to come up with situations where kids can collaborate and talk using devices.

I’ve had to change how I deliver material, sometimes it is more lecture than discovery,” Soltis said.

Much like the learning methods this year, lesson planning has also been different for teachers. When asked about planning for this school year, Kohl said that she had to develop new activities so that the lesson can work for everyone and be safe. 

Typically, I have at least a month planned out at a time. This year, since new activities have to be created, I plan a week at a time.” 

Ambrosia agreed that her usual lesson planning won’t work for this school year. Because of the daily class format, teachers have had less time than in previous years to plan lessons. This has caused Ambrosia to work from home. 

Due to the change to semester-based courses, I think what has changed most about my personal situation is my B days are when my “prep” time is, so I work at home (nights) for 1-2 hours daily.”

With different settings of learning, most teachers are trying out new methods to make the class interactive. Ambrosia has been working to develop her teaching in as engaging a way possible. “I definitely feel like I am not as engaging as in ‘normal times’,” said Ambrosia, who shared that she is trying out new methods to make the class interactive. She added that she has really utilized classroom questions where students get to know each other. “I like to utilize circles to begin each day with so every student has the opportunity to speak and share, and I can learn about every student, so that is something I’ve kept and something I think students appreciate.” 

Many classes also use the chat feature in Google Meets as it has been helpful to get students to communicate in a fast manner. Some teachers project remote learners on the screen so the class can connect and see everyone’s faces. Other teachers use different methods to engage the class, such as asking questions or using the chat feature on Google Meet.

Although different classrooms have different ways of teaching classes, the safety code remains the same for all teachers and classrooms to follow at State High. The SCASD safety plan requires that everyone wears a mask and social distance. In between classes, teachers have to spray down and disinfect desks and surfaces as well as provide hand sanitizing stations for students to use when they want to. Some teachers also open windows to let fresh air in while students work. Others choose to include other sanitation items like wipes and air filtrations and purifiers. 

I think the more students see teachers taking safety measures seriously, the more students do their part,” Ambrosia said. 

SCASD’s slogan is “Better Together,” but State High students are more physically divided than ever before. Even so, State High teachers are coming together by supporting one another and students, helping to make the State High community connected and strong. 

“The SCASD faculty and staff are attempting to make this school year as good as they can, and we should acknowledge and appreciate that,” freshman Saylor Milhomme said. 

Thanks to State High’s resilient teachers, learning is still possible–even in the midst of a pandemic.