BYU student teachers assigned to schools throughout Utah are adjusting to teaching students remotely after Gov. Gary Herbert announced a soft closing of schools due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“Gov. Herbert stressed that the school dismissal is a preventative measure, and will be reassessed at the end of the two-week period to determine whether or not the policy should continue,” a March 13 press release from the governor’s office reads.
Utah K-12 schools were required to have remote schooling options starting March 18, which means student teachers from BYU are also adapting to this new change.
On March 13, the BYU McKay School of Education also released a coronavirus update that reads, “Student teachers will continue their placements and will follow their host school’s protocols in the event of illness. Should schools close or move to online instruction, we will send additional information.”
KaDee Oman is currently student teaching at an elementary school in Riverton. Prior to the governor’s announcement, she said student teachers from BYU were supposed to continue teaching even though classes at BYU were moved online.
After the announcement, Oman said the student teachers will do whatever their mentor teachers do. “If she goes into school, so do I. And if she works from home, I do too,” she said.
The school Oman is at used March 16-17 to put together online materials for the students to use during the two-week school closure with the plan so that everything was ready for students on March 18. “After that I’ll just be helping with grading and stuff like that,” she said.
BYU theater education major Abbie Card is also a student teacher this semester; she teaches at both a middle school and elementary school. Like Oman, Card said the district she is working for also spent March 16-17 preparing online curriculum for their students.
Her school has decided to just upload the materials for students to use on their own time rather than holding video chats for class.
While Card can continue teaching her students about scripts, characters and storytelling using online materials, some learning experiences are hard to replicate over the internet. Card said in addition to moving online, the middle school she is working for had to cancel their school musical as well as classes.
“The kids were devastated to hear the news. Lots of tears,” Card said.