A Q&A with Hire Tech teachers on COVID-19 and adjusting to eLearning

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators across the country are now navigating a new, online-focused teaching environment. Conexus Indiana checked in with Hire Tech teachers from across the state to ask them how they and their students are adapting during this period. Below is a selection of their revealing and inspirational responses: 

How have you changed your teaching techniques since the school shutdown?

Within the academically diverse population of my typical manufacturing classroom I can adjust to the students strengths. Students that might struggle significantly in a traditional classroom can really shine and find success in manufacturing. The manufacturing class is project-based with a lot of hands-on work. Because they love the hands-on as much as they do, I can motivate them to get the bookwork completed. I spend time face-to-face encouraging each student to get their projects completed. Now that we are in an eLearning mode the literal face-to-face is difficult to replace. So I need to make sure my written eLearning assignments are clear and efficient and include video links that can support the lesson. – David Post, New Palestine High School, New Palestine, IN

I’ve had to be more creative with my instruction and more thoughtful on how I introduce material. In a classroom setting, I’m capable of continuing instruction throughout the class period and that can’t be done over eLearning. – Kyle Owens, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

What challenges have you faced? 

Finding out how to relate hands-on material to a lesson and working with students without internet access. – Jeremy Ledford, South Central Jr.-Sr. High School, Elizabeth, IN

Not being able to have valuable formative assessments. It’s very difficult to know if a student understands the content. – Kyle Owens

What successes have you seen during this time? 

Having access to an online curriculum has helped make this a transition to continuing education. – Jeremy Ledford

Student Initiative. Sometimes in the classroom a teacher can question whether a student actually values their education. Through this experience, I’ve been impressed by the initiative of my students to complete the work. – Kyle Owens

What has the response been like from your students?

They’ve been very receptive. As in the classroom, my students who excel are doing well with eLearning. The same is for my students who struggle in the classroom. – Kyle Owens

They do not like continuous eLearning, but they have made the comment that my class, by far, was the easiest to transition to. – Glen Goffinet, Tell City Jr.-Sr. High School, Tell City, IN

How are you preparing for the end of the semester?

Trying to get through the remainder of the material so that students can get their dual credit and certifications. – David Post

With no final exams, the end of year is going to be much different. I am trying to get a plan together to get them ready for the MSSC exam. – Glenn Goffinet

Will this change how you teach when in-person classes resume?

Yes, I will probably incorporate some “flipped” classroom techniques like recorded lessons. – Jeremy Ledford

Will make me appreciate it more. To take advantage of the opportunity we have to educate and to impact the students. The in-person connection is so important. – David Post

I believe this experience has allowed me to find tools that would be beneficial in providing supplemental instruction for students who need that additional help. – Kyle Owens

I don’t think so. This has reinforced the fact that my students need me to motivate them and that day-to-day interaction. – Glenn Goffinet

What have you learned from this experience?

I have learned how valuable “face time” is when students are in the physical classroom and anything I can do to maximize this time is to the student’s benefit. – Jeremy Ledford

That I love teaching…I knew that already but it is a good reminder. I want to do the best possible for the students and at this point in time it’s eLearning. The hands-on aspect of learning is so needed. Many kids learn by doing….that’s how they think, work, and someday make a living. I hope schools and industry continue to support and expand this aspect of school course offerings. – David Post

That nothing can replace in-person classroom instruction. I’ve always been nervous as an educator that online instruction could phase out parts of the traditional educational experience. I now know that nothing can replace the educational value of having an experience in the classroom. – Kyle Owens

Educationally wise, we can use eLearning at a better level than I thought was possible. It has been a challenge but I am surprised how well most of my students have responded. – Glenn Goffinet