The last year and a half of dealing with COVID-19 has been tough for everyone. The work of the teachers, in particular, was turned upside down.
“It was very difficult to be able to make sure we had those connections,” says Theresa Eckler, a fourth-grade teacher at Rensselaer Park Elementary School. “It was a very long year of … changes and having to be very creative about what we were doing with the students.”
This fall should be the start of the first full year of face-to-face classes at Rensselaer Park Elementary since the start of the pandemic.
“I am very excited just to have them in person and to be able to feel their energy; get back to normal life, ”Eckler said.
Some things will continue to be “COVID compliant,” mostly because Eckler students are too young to receive the vaccine. It has virtual reality headphones for excursions; the desks are separate; masks will be worn; and, for the most part, students adhere to their own supplies.
“I’m a little worried that the procedures might look like if kids have to be quarantined … and how it might look like if we have students in person, but also remote on the computer,” Eckler said.
The most important lesson Eckler said he learned from the pandemic is the flexibility of teachers.
“Teachers can literally modify their plans, adapt, and basically do whatever it takes to make sure kids learn and have fun learning,” he said.