While most teachers and students are accustomed to a classroom setting, the effects of COVID-19 have shut down schools across the country, preventing countless from connecting with one another.
Yet many have remained optimistic for the future and its promising opportunities, including our new AP and Honors Biology teacher, Paige Springman.
While this time may not seem like the most ideal time to begin a teaching career, Springman has maintained a positive mindset and holds onto hope for the future.
“Each class and each student is just one click away, which is kind of nice!” said Springman.
According to Springman, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with an overall goal of fostering students’ interest in science.
“Later in my career, I would like to be able to teach college and university students how to be science teachers,” said Springman. She began her teaching career here at Godwin on Jan. 4.
Although students have been unable to meet with their classes in-person, Springman is able to recognize Godwin’s strong sense of community.
“The Godwin community is the most collaborative and understanding community I have ever had the pleasure of working with! I can’t even imagine what this community is like in person,” said Springman.
Springman has many interests outside of teaching, including “playing with [her] cat, Letty, while watching The Office or anime.”
“I spend many hours scrolling through TikTok and playing Among Us. Also, I am teaching myself how to read tarot cards and enjoy learning about various crystals!” said Springman.
Regardless of the challenges of online learning, Springman is enthusiastic about her teaching position.
“Online teaching has allowed me to be more of my authentic self than my in-person teaching experience. Now that I am my own teacher, teaching my own lesson[s] with my own classes, I am very happy!” said Springman.
While it is increasingly difficult to engage with others through a screen rather than in person, Springman has her students complete a warm up every day. This warm up involves students choosing from a series of photos they identify most with and explaining why.
“This has allowed me to gain insight as to what they are thinking and feeling, and it has allowed me to learn new things about my students that I may not otherwise know,” said Springman. “I believe that if I am open and honest with my students, that will make them feel more comfortable learning from me and will allow us to work better together as a class.”
A typical day for Springman entails a productive morning before online classes commence.
“I try to wake up early so that I can brush my teeth and wash my face, usually I will scroll through TikTok while doing this. Then I will feed my cat and do my makeup with The Office playing on my phone. Before I eat breakfast, I make my coffee and stir it three times to set my intentions for the day. After breakfast, I fill up my water bottle, roll out of my office chair, and set up my computer and desktop screen on the kitchen table,” said Springman.
During online classes, a majority of students choose to have their cameras off, displaying only their initials. These circumstances can implement lots of difficulties when it comes to students forming relationships with each other as well as their teachers.
“Most [students] choose to have their cameras off, which makes it hard for me to tell if they are following along or if they are lost. Fortunately, I do get some good questions in some classes, but for the most part it is hard not having those facial cues,” said Springman.
It can be difficult for students to focus while learning and studying at home rather than in a classroom environment. Additionally, students and teachers may be prone to a loss of motivation during this time of isolation. Springman holds a surplus of advice for those feeling distressed during these unprecedented times.
“As I have learned with my last job, it is important to separate work from home so that you do not burn out or feel stressed even when relaxing. Set a time limit for yourself if you can, don’t work on homework or schoolwork after a certain time, and make it a priority to do what you love! Also, make yourself a dedicated space for school that is not on your bed. Your bed is for relaxing and sleeping and doing school from your bed will make you more stressed when you are trying to sleep,” said Springman.