Mrs. Kelly Walters is an IBDP and US curriculum Science teacher, in her second year at Dunecrest American School, where she teaches Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science. We caught up with Mrs. Walters to learn more about her perspectives on returning to campus during COVID-19.
1. What is it like to return to campus during Covid?
Returning to campus this September during the COVID pandemic was a gift I was happy to receive! During term 3 of last year, my students and I were always connected virtually via class time, regular “check-ins” and for revision and project-based work. However well we managed the catalogue of digital tools and formats during home-learning, I missed the intangible energy of live lessons and experiments, the animated discussions and spontaneous extension work in the classroom.
2. How do you feel about the safety measures in place?
As a scientist teaching best practices, health and safety are paramount but in these unusual times, it is more critical than ever that we emphasize good hygiene, good practice, and mental health. I feel that all of the teachers here at Dunecrest make student safety a priority and our commitment to their care and well-being is evident in all we do from the way we have organized our classrooms, to our approach to digital collaborations to regular reminders to wear masks properly, maintain social distance, wash hands and sanitize. I have always felt like I am my students “school mom” and during this pandemic I really feel as if I am playing the role!
3. Are you still able to connect with students, how?
Although these times require us to stay apart in a physical sense, being in the classroom has enabled me to reconnect on a personal level with students. I can chat with them at the end of class or stop them in the hall to check on their well-being, at 2 meters distance of course! Their smiling faces give me sustenance and you will regularly see me waving at them or shouting a “hello” down the buzzing Dunecrest corridors.
4. How have you needed to innovate/ adjust your approach to teaching given the Covid protocols?
I admittedly was nervous returning to campus as I was unsure what to expect. I like kids to work together in class but now with the distancing rules I had to rely more on digital sharing. Tools like padlet, Airplay from devices, have allowed this to occur in unfamiliar ways for some of us.. I have also had the chance to innovate and bring in some interesting methods of collaboration. As an example, I changed the desks in my room to dry erase table tops to encourage students to work out problems and solutions on their desks so it is easier for me and other students to see how they are working through different solutions. We are using technology but I found this “old school” way is a nice break in the extremely digital-heavy environment we are now in because of Covid.
5. How do you envision the rest of the school year?
I believe that this school year is going to bring us more surprises but we will face them with a positive attitude and a united spirit, after all we are the Dunecrest Eagles and we can overcome anything together.