October 14, 2020 -- Teaching during a pandemic has helped teacher Julie Dowler become quite the proficient multi-tasker. She uses two laptops to teach her 6th-grade students at Southwood Elementary School. One for English Language Arts and Social Studies lessons, and the other to communicate quickly with her students. “It’s just easier for me with two laptops, said the teacher who’s been with the District for more than three decades.
Mrs. Dowler admits the start of this school year stands out compared to the previous 31. That’s why she is relying on her lengthy CCS service record to rise up to meet the challenge.
“The hardest part is the distance. True, the computer connects me with my students, but it’s not the same as face to face.” said the mother of three. On the day we caught up with Dowler, she was sitting alone in her classroom.
Fifteen clean, empty desks were spaced six feet apart, but it was quiet, eerily quiet. “Classrooms are not for parties of one. I miss the students so much. When they are struggling with a lesson, they can look me in the eye, and I can go over and help them,” said Dowler.
Dowler understands that laptops have limits with interpersonal communication, but they are incredibly useful in educating students during a pandemic. And that isn’t the only lesson this veteran teacher has learned. Teachers can still provide that personal touch from a safe distance. You just have to be creative and take extraordinary measures from time to time.
Mrs. Dowler shared how one of her students was struggling with completing today’s lesson online. “He was in tears because he just couldn’t get the technology to work for him,” said Dowler. “So I’m going to print off the lessons and drop them off at his house, safely outside the front door with my mask on.”
Dowler, unphased by the extra effort, said that it wasn’t a big deal, but then added she can’t wait for blended learning to begin and the students to return to the classroom.