Editor’s Note: It's been almost a year since Cardinal Gibbons transitioned to distance and hybrid learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that time the obstacles have been formidable. But in true Gibbons spirit, our school community faced the challenge head-on and through ingenuity, perseverance, and courage has re-imagined the way teaching and learning takes place during these unprecedented times. We asked educators about their experience since last March. Each day for the next several days we will share one educator’s experience with you in this new series, Lessons Learned. Today, we continue the series with Math Educator Jennifer Hammersley, above.
Q: Looking back, how have you grown as an educator?
A: Remote teaching has pushed me out of my comfort zone to explore methods and strategies of teaching that I didn’t use previously. I also think I’ve become more organized, and a better planner, over the past year. Teaching to students in person and at home simultaneously definitely requires much more forethought and planning than having everyone on campus.
Q: What new teaching strategies do you use now that you didn't know or use last spring?
A: I will admit that I was very old school in my teaching methods before last spring. I’ve always been a paper and pencil girl, and transitioning to being completely digital was tough for me at the beginning. I still think I like paper tests better, but I will say that I don’t see myself going back to paper for notes and my work. Using OneNote has been a game-changer for me… I love the way I have been able to organize my work in it and even more so, the ability that it gives me to keep up with my students’ assignments and see their work in real-time as they are doing problems.
I’ve also started making instructional videos, which was something I never really did before. This has been a great way for me to go over new material, and let students watch and absorb it at their own pace. It’s also created more time in class for them to practice and do activities.
Q: What are you most proud of that you have accomplished, learned, or adapted to?
A: I’m most proud of creating lessons and activities and providing instruction to my students that still feels relevant and helpful to them, despite the challenges that remote learning has presented.
Q: What skills and/or strategies will you continue to use when we are not in hybrid/distance learning that will improve teaching and learning in your courses?
A: While there have been some challenging adjustments to make, I think there are definitely aspects of remote teaching that I can see myself continuing to use going forward. I plan to continue a mix of in-class instruction and making videos for students to watch at home. Remote learning has also helped me to be a better communicator with my students when it comes to assignments, posting reminders, etc. I plan to continue these communication strategies moving forward.