Teachers deal with COVID-19 pandemic

Dani Almase, Pulse Co-Editor

Virginia Condon, English teacher and instructional coach, has been teaching at LT for the past 12 years. This is Condon’s first time using e-learning as a full time teacher in a school district. She, along with every teacher, had to make this sudden transition on March 13, after Principal Brian Waterman announced over the intercom that LT would be implementing e-learning to help ensure student and facility safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been challenged to learn new ways of preparing lessons and, I have had to craft new ways of communicating with students,” Condon said. “I have had to up my technology prowess. I think I have adapted [to e-learning] as well as possible, but I miss my students’ faces tremendously.”

In order to engage students with academics, Condon has found that Canvas announcements have helped her stay connected to students. She also makes herself available for Google meets or Zoom video chats if students have specific questions regarding the assignment for the day. However, the most challenging part of Condon’s E-Learning experience is the inability to see her students everyday.

“I miss seeing my students’ faces,” Condon said. “So much of my class is creating a community of safety and comfort, and I miss my family in Room 221.”

Many of Condon’s students also miss the classroom atmosphere in their English class.

“I miss Mrs. Condon’s class because she is such an upbeat and fun teacher,” Elizabeth Wood ‘20 said. “It is much harder to learn without that energy.”

In addition to Condon, Cassie Niego, Physical Education teacher who has been teaching at LT for four years, has also been adapting to e-learning like all the other teachers. Niego tries to maintain a structured daily routine during her teaching at home. Her new daily teaching routine consists of working at her desk early and spending three hours working. Then a break to workout, shower and eat, followed by another hour or two at her desk.

Her Dance Fitness agenda consists of having assignments each day with a required submission, Niego said.  Each week will contain at least one social and emotional learning lesson, and other lessons will be the completion of a workout either led by one of the Dance Fitness teachers or other online opportunities, research or the creation of their own workouts.

“I don’t know that the situation has impacted my teaching, but it has strengthened my teaching philosophy,” Niego said. “I have always believed the personal connections between teachers and students is one of the most important components of teaching, even more important than the content itself.”

During this unique experience, Niego and Condon both encourage students to stay positive and continue to show kindness.

“Stay safe and healthy, both mentally and physically,” Niego said. “ I don’t know what is yet to come, but I do believe the sacrifices you have and continue to make due to the shelter-in-place mandate is important and each of you play a key role in it. Never forget we are all connected and by staying connected we will get through this together.”