New Teachers Adapt to Remote Learning


Elijah Roeper

The front entrance to Conifer High School

       New teachers of Conifer are experiencing unprecedented difficulties as they transition into a new school.

       “My biggest challenge has been the uncertainty of what’s going to happen from day to day,” Prevention Counselor, Mr. Fitzwater, said. “I didn’t do myself any favors with this by starting a new job and moving cross country in the middle of a pandemic, however, this is a great opportunity and something I didn’t want to pass up.“

      The remote environment makes teaching a challenge. Zoom meetings randomly kick off students, students sleep through classes, and some students don’t show up to classes at all. Learning has become disengaging because of students learning from a screen.

       “I am finding it challenging to teach both Algebra 1 and Geometry in a 100% remote setting,” math teacher, Ms. Freza, said. “I miss working directly with students and being able to have face to face conversations and interactions with students in the classroom. It is very challenging to do these things through a zoom meeting.”

       Teachers are facing issues in school and also with the pandemic in every part of their lives. There is limited indoor seating at restaurants and the public is unable to spectate sports live or even visit extended family and friends.

       “Personally, it’s been disappointing not being able to do the things my husband and I love to do – go out to eat, go to concerts, meet up with friends,” French teacher, Ms. Juergens said. “I think everyone’s gotten a little stir crazy from needing to stay at home.”

       New teachers in the counseling department are also experiencing unprecedented hardships transitioning into being entirely remote.

       “At my previous school, when the pandemic started, I thought, like most people, it would be something temporary, so it was much like a vacation,” Mr. Fitzwater said. “I felt kind of lost as to how my role as a counselor would be defined, because most of the focus was on the educational piece, not the mental health piece. Then, the counselors in the district pulled together and came up with strategies and interventions to help on a larger scale. I think the biggest challenge was not knowing from day to day what was going to happen and if we were going to be remote, hybrid, or a combination of both, therefore our counseling department had to change the master and student schedules three times in a matter of two months.”

       Some of the teachers have a little experience teaching remotely from when the pandemic first started, but there are still struggles with technology issues and student absences.

       “Some of our ‘new’ teachers have taught before, a few have little experience, but they’re all doing well.” Principal Secretary Ms. Wesselhoff said. “They do reach out to us if they need anything, but honestly, there haven’t been any major issues.”