EPISODE #52: Dear Students…Virtual Teaching Is Teaching Educators, Too

Guest: Bridget Bowers

English Teacher and Director of Student Council, De Smet Jesuit High School

“Dear Students, as your teacher, I promise to always be in one of three places: 1) In front of you to cheer you on; 2) Behind you to have your back; 3) Next to you so you aren’t walking alone.”

– author unknown

What happens when those three proximities for student support become virtual – virtually overnight? We’ve heard the struggles that parents have experienced, as school and work and home life have morphed into one space during the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place orders. But what do those challenges mean for teachers? How can they create learning spaces that allow for in-person connections for their students, when the classroom has abruptly pivoted from a building into a screen, where connections depend entirely upon Internet access and sometimes, parents’ work schedules? How are teachers and administrators able to monitor and support students’ mental and physical well-being, along with their academic progress, from afar? And how can schools help seniors, especially, move forward through the traditional rites of passage that simply can’t happen because of the pandemic?

In this week’s Mental Health Matters video podcast, Executive Director Tom Duff, LCSW talks with Bridget Bowers, English teacher, director of Student Council, and last year’s “Teacher of the Year” honoree at De Smet Jesuit High School, about how she, her colleagues, and the administrators are also learning during these far-from-normal times and what they are doing to ensure that they are in front of, behind and next to their students so that no one walks alone or is left behind on this all-new journey.

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