Covid-19 forces teachers to embrace different approaches for 2020 school year


Lily Price

Chemistry teacher Mrs. Andrea Hevrdeys has had to adjust to having students so spread out in her classroom.

Olivia Knowling, Staff Writer

As Knox County Schools headed back to school last week, teachers faced a task they have never seen before: teaching classes both in-person and virtually – or even a combination of the two.

Embarking on this new journey pushed teachers to think unconventionally and to find new solutions and methods of teaching and problem solving. 

Many roadblocks arose in preparations for the new school year, but Bearden teachers and staff persevered. Though teachers have been able to work around most hurdles, the newly implemented safety precautions set in place have acted as a barrier for Bearden teachers. 

Socially distant seating has impacted my teaching the most,” chemistry teacher Mrs. Andrea Hevrdeys said. “Though it is the right thing to do, not having kids sit near each other for group work and academic conversations, [it] has negatively impacted learning in my classroom.” 

Because of these new safety measures, this school year has been unlike any other and demanded teachers plan ahead like never before. 

“Students have struggled with the technology in ways that I did not anticipate,” social studies teacher Mr. Logan Peterson said. “In addition to the normal preparation of materials, I spent multiple days trying to anticipate problems that students may have with Microsoft Teams, the Chromebooks, and my Canvas course in order to come up with solutions in advance.

“I find teaching online to be the biggest change this year.”

Teachers of all subjects braced for Bearden’s new reality. The new normal has proved to be a challenge for many of the school’s performance-oriented classes.

“A big difference this fall is that there will be no live indoor productions,” theatre teacher Ms. Katie Alley said. “[Mrs. Lauren] Andrejko and [Mr. Stephen] Brown’s musical theatre class is developing alternative performances in place of the fall musical.”

Despite all of the strides Bearden teachers have taken to overcome various obstacles, the possibility still exists that the school and/or county will go into “Red Days” and will temporarily be online. This possibility once again required an immense amount of preparation and planning from all Bearden staff. Since most students are relatively familiar with Canvas, however, some classes would be able to easily transition to virtual instruction.

“Most of my courses already used Canvas pretty heavily, but I have completely digitized every class so that we could go online without missing a beat,” Mr. Peterson said. 

Regardless of the countless number of drawbacks faced in this 2020 school year, Bearden teachers and staff have rallied together in order to make the most of this situation.