COVID altering teachers production of lesson plans


Photo by Haley Jeter

English teacher Megan Springs connects to a Zoom call for any absent students. After COVID had arose and Zoom became a normal routine for district 402, some teachers chose to continue the enforcement of Zoom calls during absence to give students the opportunity of staying on top of recently assigned work.

A virus changed not only fatality rates but also the system of education. What was once known and loved as school, was quickly turned upside down by COVID, and furthermore changed forever.

“In the beginning (of COVID) not much changed for me because I was already using a lot of online stuff,”  science teacher Nathan Stevens said. “I was using Canvas.” 

Other teachers agreed difficulty was faced in the first stages of this COVID shutdown (in the spring of 2020).

“I don’t think any of us knew what to do,” history teacher Josh Ybarra said. “We were scrambling to modify our assignments to finish out the school year.”

Not only did the process of lesson planning and teaching lessons change for many teachers due to the new requirements of online work, but the idea of online teaching/learning itself caused opinions to arise.

“I’m not a fan of online learning but I realize that it is needed at times when people can’t physically meet because of safety concerns,” social studies teacher Ryan Petty said.

Newly founded opinions and feelings about online teaching quickly developed into hardships and obstacles due to unfamiliar introduced requirements placed upon teachers. This began back in the early spring of 2020 when schools across the country were shut down. 

“Once we were shut down Mr. Connor, Mr. Hand, and I all had to kind of be on the same page,” Stevens said, “that changed significantly because I wasn’t developing lessons for my classes;  we were developing lessons for all of our classes.”

Although COVID struck nearly every school district in America, and ultimately the world almost two years ago now, online work is regularly practiced even in 2022. 

“I still use Zoom whenever I have a student who is quarantined,” English teacher Megan Springs said. “In some of my classes, I have to use it every day, it just depends on who’s absent and who’s logging in.”

Many unpredictable obstacles were overcome during the process of teaching through a pandemic, this allowed teachers to see the light at the end of the tunnel, positives they have picked up along the way that stayed with them from then to now.

“There’s been one positive benefit to what I’ve had to learn as a teacher to accommodate for COVID, and that is, even when I haven’t had students out but I’ve had to be out; I’ve been able to record lessons on Zoom,” Springs said, “allowing students to have the full benefit of my instruction even when I can’t be there.” 

The modifications teachers have made to their classrooms and lesson plans have stuck far beyond the hardships of 2020, and these changes are still enforced today.

My mindset has become more traditional in the classroom since COVID,” Ybarra said. “Instead of having more classroom discussion and group work, I have gone to more individual assignments.”

COVID became more than just a virus, more than just teachers changing their work to fit online criteria and COVID restrictions, it became a valuable lesson to teachers. Lessons that are still in mind for teachers today.

“I 100 percent took teaching without COVID limitations for granted, never in a million years did I think we would have social distancing like we did,” Petty said. “Don’t take anything for granted.”