Teaching Persists through the Pandemic

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Credit: The Open University, Creative Commons, https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/f0192d19-c7ff-4a7b-a172-37701eab33cd

Mackenzie Evans, Staff Writer

These past several months have been some of the most unpredictable of modern times. As students, we have had to adapt to remote learning. Meanwhile, teachers have had to work around the technological challenges. Nothing could have fully prepared us for these challenging times, but educators adapted quickly to provide students with the best possible experience.

Teaching on a screen can be tough. It is difficult to know if students understand the material, especially in classes where  hands-on classroom discussions are common. For example, group projects and lab partners have changed dramatically. Still, the teachers have been there to help us any way they can. I think that all of the teachers at Oak Forest have done an exceptional job of adapting, but when I asked a few of my fellow students, certain names came up repeatedly.

Many students spoke highly of Ms. Sasek, an amazing chemistry and biology teacher. She is a ray of sunshine, no matter what period of the day you have her. Her passion for teaching her students about science is made clear every day through her enthusiasm and excitement. When I asked Madison Edge, a junior taking AP Biology, she said, “Personally I think teachers are doing their best, just like students are. Even through the technical difficulties that sometimes occur, we’re still learning something. But specifically Mrs. Sasek has been so great. I have her for AP Bio and every single day she is a ball of energy. She is the sweetest despite not having students next to her like she is used to. She constantly reminds us she loves and misses us— and she mails gift cards out to those who do well on Kahoot! Mrs. Sasek’s class is one I can always look forward to even remotely.” Ms. Sasek is one of the kindest, most optimistic, caring teachers I have ever had, and on behalf of all her students, we thank her for her dedication.

Another name that frequently came up was Mr. Mollin. When asked what he did well during online classes, I kept hearing about how flexible and understanding he was with his students. The compassion and care he has goes above and beyond, and it is easy to see. I asked Kaitlyn Perez about teachers who she felt were doing an excellent job, and she brought up his name immediately. Perez said, “Ever since the school year started, he’s been adjusting assignments for us to make sure that we won’t have a hard time doing it with the resources that we have at home, and he’s very understanding about our situation during remote learning.” Having an environment where students are comfortable with the teacher is key. Mr. Mollin’s willingness to adapt to these situations is comforting to students and makes them less stressed about assignments. On behalf of your students, Mr. Mollin, thank you for adjusting to us and understanding the unprecedented situations we are all going through.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Mr. Farrell, an incredible literature teacher. He is a great teacher who strives for the best from his students and understands the struggles everyone is going through. His pop culture references mixed with his daily songs make for a great environment where students are ready and willing to learn. He makes sure each and every student understands the topic we are learning, but also challenges us and gets us prepared for the upcoming AP test through developing our reading skills and comprehension. I think that Mr. Farrell’s methods of teaching are effective and set us up for success. It is safe to say that his students appreciate him and all the things he does for us!

All teachers, coaches, and faculty members deserve to be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication. Thank you for everything you do, whether it is learning about new technologies or making sure that we are learning the best that we can.