Written by Chandler Elkins
Over the past year, educators and students alike have faced unprecedented changes in how they go about their education. No one has been able to keep Coronavirus out of their mind over the past few months, but when the next generation thinks about the future, they’re more worried about doing times tables than getting sick.
Teachers revamped their curriculum in order to keep class in session, even if that meant conducting classes remotely via zoom. Chattanooga School of the Arts and Sciences Elementary Principal, Fannie Moore, navigated the trials of social distancing with patience and grace.
“There’s nothing that can replace a real teacher, having that face to face discussion,” says Moore. “We’ve definitely seen an impact on the social and emotional aspects of students.”
This spring, students have been learning through a combination of at home learning and in person, depending on the wishes of their parents. Those in school experience a somewhat normal school year, albeit with a limited curriculum and less schoolwork. The expectations placed on younger students to be computer literate was challenging for them, but students as young as six years old have been able to stay engaged with their classes via zoom. CSAS second grader, Townes Sloan, expresses the issues he had while learning online.
“We couldn’t see the work a lot of the time, and it was hard to ask questions on zoom.”
When kids think about what the upcoming school year will look like, they focus more on the little things, as children should. Miles Henderson, kindergartner, makes a great point: you can’t trade pokemon cards over zoom. The concerns of these kids aren’t oriented around the Coronavirus or wearing masks, but how they are going to succeed with more reading, writing, and multiplication awaiting them.
First grader, Hagan Hendricks, anticipates that second grade will be “even harder, and the higher the grade, the harder it will get.”
Even though elementary students face the same technical issues that currently hinder graduate students, they refuse to settle for how things are and have seamlessly adapted to a ‘new normal.’
The protocols CSAS and other local schools have made to remain in session have required educators to reconsider how to make their learning environment safe and healthy.
Principal Moore reflects on the trials her students have faced, and reminds us, “kids are resilient. At the beginning of the year, I was worried… but they’ve done it! The hardest part has been when we have had to pivot back to online learning.”
Living amidst a pandemic has taught us more than we could have ever expected. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but now it’s time to learn a lesson from the next generation. COVID is not stopping the future of Chattanooga from following their dreams and looking forward to what’s to come. With vaccines becoming more accessible and our local industry opening back up, everyone has something to look forward to, which is something most of us haven’t had time to consider. Collectively, everyone who has taken COVID-related precautions in order to revisit a ‘new normal’ should look for a light at the end of the tunnel.
Teaching Through A Pandemic
Written by Ben Greenwell
Education is running a gauntlet at the moment. Any educator would squeem at the task of balancing the division of students at home and in person. Meredith Fullbright, senior at UTC and education major, has the unique perspective of being on both sides of the zoom calls.
“Zoom is so bad, but when you get to see the kids in person it’s so great.”
As a full time college student, Fullbright is attending as well as teaching online classes. It’s hard to imagine a juggling act of this kind but the truth is that young teachers all over the country are facing the same predicament. Classes at CSAS, where Fullbright student teaches, have gone back to in person. However, with social distancing and the pressure of a pandemic, things still are not the same for a fresh teacher who needs experience.
Fullbright isn’t discouraged. Taking things in stride, she claims all the change is providing good learning moments for her. Hoping to take away key skills for an environment that has changed significantly, Fullbright is well on her way to becoming one of the many new teachers following the wake of Coronavirus.
Meet The Story Tellers
Ben Greenwell is writing for Rising Rock as a junior, pursuing his bachelor’s degree at UTC. Able to bring a fresh look to the table, Greenwell employs a wide set of skills to adapt to any situation with a knack for making people comfortable and a drive to secure information. Outside of UTC, he’s an aspiring cook and gardener with an interest in culture and the outdoors. He’s also passionate about soccer and covering sports news. You can contact Greenwell at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benjamin Ducklo is a Rising Rock student and has worked with audio and written work. Benjamin has a couple stories that were published on Rising Rock that are titled Mr. No Excuses and Music as Protest. Benjamin is a people person and loves the outdoors. Benjamin is an avid hiker and loves backpacking through the woods. You can contact Benjamin at email@example.com and check out some more of his work at RisingRock.com
Chandler Elkins is a senior Communications major writing for Rising Rock at UTC. She aspires to integrate the knowledge she has acquired minoring in Women and Gender Studies into the writing she does for media. Chandler strives to use her ability to engage with large groups of people as a way to create a space for stories that deserve to be told. She is passionate about repurposing used clothing and furniture, and enjoys cuisine, travel, and live music.
Madelyn Hill has a background in Social Media Marketing and Photography. Hill has experience working with specialties in street photography and, organizing social media pages, and leading the team to success. She also has a passion to let every voice be heard, no matter how small, big, happy, sad, each person deserves to be heard. She also enjoys reading, watching Youtube videos, going out to new food places with friends, and taking trips outside to take photos. For great photos from Madelyn Hill, you can contact her at (865) 441-3730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jerrod Niles is a multimedia creator that specializes in photography and videography. For the past four years, Niles has used his artistic eye and passion for automotives to create compelling visual content. Jerrod studies at UTC and continues to do freelance work from his dorm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can find more of Jerrod’s work at https://cqm463.wixsite.com/mysite/.