Pandemic making teachers adapt to new teaching plan


Samantha Freeman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coppell High School teachers begin the 2020-21 school year with virtual teaching, starting on Aug. 17. The unfamiliar format required extra preparation and continuous planning from teachers, many of whom are concerned about building relationships with students. Graphic by Samantha Freeman

Tracy Tran, Photo Assignment Editor

“The reason I became a teacher is because I love kids,” Coppell High School calculus teacher Suzanne Black said. “[I also love] the relationship that I build with kids and hanging out with them during the day, and not having that, it just feels so mechanical. Teachers do not become teachers to do all the work we’re doing right now. This is going to change education forever and will never be the same.”

Following the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) guidelines, CHS teachers started the 2020-21 school year remotely on Aug. 17. For the first nine weeks, Coppell ISD gave its students the option to study virtually or return on campus on Sept. 8.

After 24 years at CHS, Black never expected to end her teaching career during a pandemic. Black said she is retiring from education at the end of the school year.

“I’ve never thought that it would end in this situation,” Black said. “What I hope happens is this first semester is going to be rough and coronavirus will go away. It’s just a really weird way to start the school but it’s going to be OK because that’s what we do at CHS. ‘Cowboy fight never dies.’ We will stay together and make it work.”

Over the summer, CHS departments have been working with the district and Principal Laura Springer to prepare for the new school year. Teachers nationwide are sharing their teaching plans and suggestions on social media platforms.

“I have been reading a lot of articles and [watching] a lot of videos from experts in ways of making relationships with students,” CHS chemistry teacher Sorelle Kimball said. 

The curriculum will be the same for both in-person and virtual classes, so returning teachers, such as CHS IB math teacher Karie Kosh, can utilize prepared materials from past years.

“I’m so glad I’m a returning teacher [at CHS],” Kosh said. “I’ve heard that you don’t know the course until you’ve taught it three times and so there’s something about teaching that material. The first time you don’t know what you do. The second time you kind of figure it out. The third time, you can start fine-tuning it.”

For the chemistry department, lab replacement options are being considered. One of the most common solutions is that students can take data from recorded videos and make lab reports based on the lab work performed by teachers.

Despite the circumstances and extra preparation, CHS teachers are excited for the new school year.

“There are a lot of nerves right now from students, parents, teachers,” CHS IB English teacher Stephanie Spaete said. “Everyone is unsure of the situation. As teachers, we have the students in our minds and in our hearts. We’re dedicated to helping you guys succeed so it’s going to be a good year.”

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