Boston, MA – November 16th, 2020 –
Teachers across the Massachusetts, and across the country, are adjusting to teaching students virtually and many experienced teachers feel as though they are in the first year of teaching all over again. The Boston Globe Great Divide team followed three teachers to uncover how teachers are adapting to teaching during the pandemic. Adrianna Barnes, who is a fourth grade teacher at KIPP Academy Boston Elementary school, discusses how she has had to transform her approach to teaching in a virtual world. When she was teaching in her classroom, in person, Barnes encouraged students to learn from each other. She was used to guiding the discussion, but allowing students to answer each others questions and solve problems together. That has been the biggest challenge Barnes told the Globe team: “They’re still figuring out how to interact with each other online. If we were in person, I’d say, ‘I’m not a part of this conversation — ask your teammates what they think.’ ” But she is finding that no longer works as many students are reluctant to speak up and take intellectual risks in a virtual setting.
Barnes had to pivot to a more teacher led approach to online learning with individualized sessions with students who might be struggling, which she has found had helped to alleviate some of the stage freight that her kids feel on Zoom. She has also relied on more naturally exciting topics, such as current events, to help with student engagement. Barnes is constantly figuring out what works and what doesn’t in a virtual setting, and, like many teachers, Barnes misses being in person. “I miss being with the kids in person so much,” Barnes said. “I miss their weird jokes — I think what I miss most is them interacting with each other.”
You can read the full Boston Globe article here.