Remote Learning Inspires New Ways of Teaching for Falmouth Academy Faculty

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Mrs. Kreamer's biology class over Zoom.

Kyra Ramsey, Staff Writer

Although the challenge of a global pandemic has put an unexpected roadblock in our spring, life must go on. And, for teachers and students across the world, that means finding new ways to teach and learn remotely. Throughout Falmouth Academy’s two-week March break, faculty members worked to create an effective remote learning plan. Now, after over a month of online school, teachers have begun to establish a routine and are eager to share their thoughts. 

Online school is obviously very different from regular school, and while it may be hard to get used to, the faculty at Falmouth Academy is up for the challenge. Many of them enjoy discovering the new aspects of technology, especially French and English teacher, Ms. Turner. She says, “I’m amazed by the variety of resources that are already available for online learning. I’m not sure that I would have tried so many cool apps and tools if it weren’t for this shift to the virtual, and I’d love to continue using many of them when we return to our physical classrooms.” Mr. Stevens, the geometry teacher, believes that his students are getting even more done during his Zoom classes than they did at school. Other teachers are grateful for the later start time, as 10th and 12th grade history teacher Mr. Wells admits. “Though I know that I am most productive early in the morning, I have a strong inner teenager in me that still loves to sleep late,” he says. Don’t we all, Mr. Wells. 

However, remote learning can also make teaching a bit more difficult, as many members of the FA community have found. A good number of the challenges stem from the limitations of technology in facilitating discussion-based and hands-on learning. Mr. Wells described the anxiety he felt while trying to figure out how to lead his classes, which are primarily discussion-based. 10th grade biology teacher, Ms. Kreamer, described how her hands-on lessons are hard to accomplish through a screen. She says, “I want students to be engaged in the learning process, not just be listening to a lecture.” During classes, teachers like Mr. Stevens admit to having a hard time “reading the room” to see how students are processing the material.  Finally, teachers lament the lack of interaction, both with their students and between their students, without the intermediary of a screen.  

Teachers have been working to improve ways to connect with students. They make sure to stay after class for students with questions, are always available to meet during “office hours” between classes, and try to engage with students by asking questions about their activities outside of school. The challenges of quarantine are slowly getting easier for teachers. Above all else, the faculty at Falmouth Academy want to make sure their students know that we are all in this together.