Teaching Limitations Concern Teachers

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Media by Ben Hughes

The return to in-school learning has new created concerns for teachers.

As students return in person Thursday, Nov. 12, Darcy Hachmeister, math teacher, was concerned about dividing her attention between students online and those in-person. 

Hachmeister said it will be difficult to devote an equal amount of time to both groups; therefore, she feels one group’s learning will always be sacrificed in this process. 

“I take that very personally in that I will not be able to perform my job as well as I want, which causes me to worry about the kids that are not getting the help they should be able to get,” Hachmeister said. 

Hachmiester said she believes in-person students will have a clear advantage because they are receiving immediate feedback. She said the district’s overall decision to use the quarter system has made the teacher’s job incredibly difficult and those difficulties increase with the school reopening.

Teachers are having difficulties adapting to ongoing changes and are facing limitations to teaching effectively due to the reopening of school.

Scott Szevery, history teacher, is struggling with the idea of not only dealing with two groups of students but also having to share his classroom with another teacher.

Szevery said he is aware that sharing a classroom does not mean teaching at the same time. But, he said his worries revolve around handling preparations for lectures along with students coming in and out of class.  

We have to set up the room to allow us both to use our teacher desks and instructional technology, plus figuring out how to manage all of our students coming and going,” Szevery said.

Szevery is not the only one worried about adapting to the new system.

Katherine Bauman, history teacher, has been working past contracted hours in order to keep up with the constant changes. 

Bauman said she is worked up about planning lectures and spends far too much time managing her college class. She said she has logged 350 hours first quarter for her AP European History class alone.

Bauman said she hopes parents and students will reach out to teachers and appreciate their diligent work these past few months.

“Every teacher I have talked to is exhausted and burned out because they are working way beyond contracted hours so please remember to thank them,” Bauman said. 

Patrick Schrappen, science teacher, is also contributing large amounts of time as well as his own money to try give students the most efficient education.

Schrappen said he has invested in a webcam and extension cable so he can show students online his work on the whiteboard. He said he also has purchased a GoPro to film labs and other demos. 

Schappen said his first priority is that students learn the course material. 

“If I don’t pay for my own technology and learning suffers, then it is my fault because I was not willing to go the extra mile for my students,” Schrappen said. 

Schrappen said he had no choice but to buy necessary technology in order to teach virtual students as effectively as those in-person.

“I am not happy with being told to do the best possible but the district does not have

many resources to assist teachers,” Schrappen said.

Associate Principal Dr. Tracy Waeckerle is certain returning to school is the best option.

Dr. Waeckerle said she is aware teachers are faced with difficulties this year and have had to face many challenges.

In regards to sharing classrooms and spacing issues, Dr. Waeckelre said it is not possible for all teachers to have individual classrooms due to MHS having the largest student population in the district.

Dr. Waekerle said the administration is facing unexpected obstacles along with the teachers and is trying to provide all staff with materials they need.

“As far as classroom materials, we have done our best to be able to purchase items that teachers have requested to help them with their instruction this year as our budget has allowed,” Dr. Waeckerle said.

Dr. Waeckerle said teachers are given the opportunity to speak their concerns and the Rockwood Learning Council is actively working to help solve any issues teachers may have.

She said the administration is willing to help staff as much as possible through the current complications present with returning to school. 

Building administrators continue to work with staff to address needs in their classrooms including additional technology, PPE and room spacing to help with the transition back to in-person learning,”  Dr. Waeckerle said.

The Messenger has reached out to the Rockwood National Education Association (RNEA), the teachers’ label union, but has received no response.