Behind Plexiglass: How Corona Has Affected Teachers

Faculty utilize creativity, technology to reach kids during Covid times


Emma Shami

Mr. Ulle, chemistry teacher, teaching chemistry under health department guidelines.

Students leisurely file in to a classroom after a 10 minute passing period, the faint odor of Terminator disinfectant hangs in the air. A teacher booms her voice from a voice amplifier behind a sheet of half-inch plexiglass. This is not your usual school year.

Now that students are back at school, a lot has changed; but it has changed a lot for the teachers as well, with their lesson plans completely being thrown off course, and their interactions with students changing a lot as well.

With coronavirus taking over our lives, a lot of new protocols have been put into place, specifically with contact tracing. Teachers have to sanitize the desks, and they can’t do the same projects that they were planning on doing in a COVID free world. Mr. Ulle, the chemistry teacher, has had to alter his lesson plans to fit the “new normal.”  “COVID has not changed what I teach, but it has certainly changed how I teach.” Ulle says, “This year I am not doing hands-on lab activities. Instead, I am using Youtube, Playposit, and Pivot Interactives to give my students the opportunity to collect virtual lab data.” Ulle continues. He does see some light in the darkness though.”The virus has created a lot more work for me…but I have learned how to film lab experiments, and use video editing software…These are valuable skills that I hopefully continue to use, long after the crisis is over,” Ulle finished.

Some teachers had concerns about how their interaction and their connection with students was 

 “I was extremely worried about how I would connect with my students when they could not see my smile.” Head of Drexel Ms. Ashmore says,  “I made the choice to open up and be emotionally vulnerable at the beginning with my students, so I could emotionally connect with them…COVID made things different, but it is still possible to emotionally connect.” Ashmore finishes.

For history teacher Ms. Jacobs, it’s all worth it just to see the students. “…At the end of the day, students remain my focus. I remind myself that even with the additional obligations, I would rather that, than return to lockdown and solely online education.” Jacobs says. “The true joy of teaching is interacting with the students and helping students love history. “

As we continue to navigate this difficult time, we should take more time to show our appreciation for our teachers, who are working tirelessly to try to make this experience as normal as possible for us.