BY GRACE BILODEAU
There is no doubt that the global pandemic has significantly altered methods of teaching and learning within Canton High School. For a period of six weeks, both educators and students grew comfortable in the hybrid learning model that took the place of our normal school schedule. However, on Tuesday, October 13, this was changed again as we transitioned into the full reopening plan that currently involves students in attending in-person classes four days a week.
Constant changes and adaptations in teachers and students’ life have proved difficult for most to adjust to. Never mind the fact that we as a country are in the midst of a fight for racial justice, a presidential election, and countless societal issues. Balancing new styles of learning while trying to nurture aware and decent human beings are two important concepts that have been constantly intertwined within Canton High School, especially this year.
Canton Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Leigh Connole, has found herself both willing and capable of maintaining the same practices within the classroom as she would in other years. “English Language Arts is a discipline that focuses primarily on examining humans, society, the human condition, and connections between fiction and non-fiction and society are pretty seamless, said Mrs. Connole. “I’ve always drawn these parallels in my classroom and will continue to do so.”
Mrs. Connole has consistently shown attention to topics of prejudice, stereotypes, and has fostered an environment where English connects in countless ways to prevalent topics today.
With regard to schedule changes in place this year, Mrs. Connole finds block periods to be helpful in being able to cover the same amount of material, if not more. However COVID restrictions have prevented much of the group-oriented learning that typically occurs. Group learning has been limited due to social distancing guidelines, and has also been challenging as there are still many fully online learners.
Full remote student, Gabbie Marcuccio, expressed the many struggles she has encountered as a completely online student. “I don’t feel like I’m included in the discussions, and it’s harder to ask questions,” said Ms. Marcuccio. “The teachers move at a pace that doesn’t allow me to type questions or answers in the chat, and they also don’t really make an effort to ask me if there’s something I want to add.”
Ms. Marcuccio is learning remotely due to medical reasons and feels that she is at a disadvantage. “It is an issue for me when disabled students don’t get the proper accommodations or the same fair chances as abled students.”
Some might venture to say that these new styles of learning have been easier on students who are attending school each day. Students who are fully remote have been challenged in finding proper accommodations for their learning. The difficulties that remote students have faced speak to the idea of ableism within school systems. Teaching and learning in such an environment brings to light the inequities of one student succeeding while another struggles due to a disability.
Consequently, new learning schedules and methods have ultimately prevented a lot of the flexibility and individuality that students have grown accustomed to. In the midst of a global pandemic both teachers and students find themselves constantly adapting to new styles of learning. Some argue that this is a time for reflection and rethinking, when in reality most are finding themselves emotionally drained due to the issues that surround our society and education system.