Teacher: Lauren Acker
Subject: Geometry and Algebra
Q: What obstacles do you think you will face as a math teacher through virtual learning?
A: I think the biggest obstacle I will face with math specifically is ensuring that students understand the material fully, but also are able to get the help and full explanations that they need. Math takes a lot of practice and some of the problems are difficult to understand unless I can demonstrate and explain each step – which can be difficult to do virtually.
Q:Do you think that this transition will be harder for students or teachers? Why?
A: It’s really hard for me to decide who it will be “harder” on because I know it is difficult for everyone, but for different reasons. Teachers are having to scale back content and try to maintain positive relationships without daily contact with students. Students are trying to balance all of their classes while also having the added struggle of trouble-shooting with different technology. And for all of us, teachers and students, we still have our different day-to-day responsibilities, which can majorly impact the amount of time we spend on schoolwork, our mental and emotional health, etc.
Q: Do you think that virtual learning for Algebra/Geometry will impact a student’s understanding of the content when moving on to the next grade level? How?
A: It is difficult to tell at this point how much virtual learning will impact a student’s understanding when moving to the next grade level. The good news is, our math department is awesome and we know that this current pandemic will create the need for flexibility for next school year. I have no doubt that whatever happens, we’ll work together to communicate with one another this year and into next in order to ensure we are teaching the right concepts to keep students on track.
Q:What do you think will be the hardest unit to teach and why?
A: For Geometry Honors, we only have to get through a couple of new chapters and I’m not that concerned with either one due to the resilience of my students and the content being Area & Volume – something most students are at least a little bit familiar with. The upside of my Advanced Algebra classes is that we only have to get through 1 chapter (4 lessons), but the downside is that it is one of the most difficult chapters of the class (Rational Expressions). So, at this point I think Rational Expressions will be the hardest unit to teach, but we’ll make it through!
Q: What did you and the other teachers put into consideration when planning assignments for virtual learning?
A: The first thing to put into consideration is the amount of time assignments are going to take. We want to make sure we are not overloading students with tons of content in each class for each day. Another big thing is the fact that we cannot monitor what resources students may be using when completing an assignment. This forces us to consider different types of assignments that focus on students engaging in the material in a meaningful way, as opposed to simply searching for the correct answer.
By Emmie Digon