The New Age of Teaching
By Aiden Paczek
As students walk into class they are greeted by their teacher. After school starts the teacher then has to teach nearly a week's worth of material in a single day. They have to be able to keep students interested and engaged in order to stay on track with the high pace of teaching that needs to be done in order to get through the curriculum of that course. This would be a very stressful thing to do all day, every day.
Different is the word that Keith Macdonald, a math and computer teacher at Canterbury, used to describe how teaching felt this year. With lots of last-minute changes before the year started, many teachers didn’t know what this year was going to look like until the night before it started. It took tons of rethinking to be able to get a solid teaching plan laid out in the beginning. Although we are one quadmester through, it is still difficult, and new challenges keep showing themselves.
Phil Moore, a science teacher at Canterbury, described teaching as a challenge. He said that “there were big expectations as a teacher right now. It is pretty safe to say that teachers aren’t thrilled about the quadmester system.”
When asked about things they liked about the system it was hard for the interviewees to come up with an answer. After they were asked about what they didn’t like about the quadmester system, they had no trouble coming up with multiple answers.
The recurring dislike is the high pace at which the lessons are taught. With a lot of material to cover but not a lot of time to teach, it's hard for teachers to make sure that everyone is getting all the help they need while staying on track to get through a week's worth of classes in one day.
Connecting to students at home is another challenge for teachers. Not all students have the proper technology or a good space to work. That falls onto the teacher to either try and help the student or adjust the lesson so they are able to complete tasks. This is a difficult task to be able to change lessons on the fly to adapt to what the student can and can't do at home.
Mr. Macdonald described how he merged his classes together so he can just teach as if they are all in the same room. The only problem is that it won’t always work. An example he gave was if you in a more hands on class like an art. It would be challenging to do some of the assignments at home if you lack materials.
Teachers are also noticing that students aren’t learning as well. It is quite easy to fall behind and once you are behind it is really hard to catch up. With such a relentless pace it is hard to make sure everyone understands perfectly without sacrificing precious time.
A quote from Mr. Macdonald that sums up teaching this year is ”it’s easy for things to get out of control.”