Crossroads of Education: Ashley Meers

Ashley Meers Junior High Science Teacher at Altamont Grade School

When and how did you hear about the Covid-19 pandemic?

I started hearing about the Covid-19 pandemic going on in China back in January/February when my 8th graders were researching different types of viruses.  A few students decided they wanted to research and present this particular virus. 

How did your role change when schools were closed?

When schools closed my role changed from in class hands on teacher to trying to figure out what would work best in the virtual world.  I remembered one of my coworkers presenting on a science program they were using at the high school and decided to give it a try with my kids at home to continue to further their education during this time. 

What did you and/or your school do to support remote learning and the needs of students?

Thankfully my junior high students were already one to one with their chrome books and were used to using google classroom as a platform in most of our classes so transiting to all remote online learning was a little easier for us at the junior high end than it was for other grade levels. Students who did not have internet access at home were given printed copies of the content being sent out online to their peers.

What was the biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was trying to juggle my personal life with both of my daughters at home and trying to give my school kids the attention they all needed and deserved.  When you are at school it is easy to seperate the two but when you have both running at the same exact time things can get a bit chaotic 

What was the biggest frustration?

My biggest frustration was not being in the classroom to be hands on with my kids covering the content I was sending them online.  I had several hands on experiments that were built in with my spring lessons and the students didn’t get the opportunity to participate in those things.  I also was disappointed when I would host an online check in meeting with my students and only 2-4 from that class would hop and participate.  I set this for every Tuesday and I had set 20 minute times for each class to check in with me and ask any questions they may have or discuss any life things they wanted to during that time. I was extremely thankful and grateful for the students who did jump on our call and let me know how things were going. I did not realize how much that meant to me until I broke down as I closed my last call. 

Were there new things that you learnt about/for your role?

I learned how important it is to be there for your students and to continue to show them encouragement and support.  I also earned new software programs to continue to allow my students to push to their highest potential and learned that a good teacher is one that keeps learning themselves.

What did you realize that you take for granted?

I learned that I take in person time with my kids for granted.  There are some days that I look forward to that break day away from them but during this time away during covid all I wanted was to be back in my classroom and see my kids.  While this year may look completely different it is so nice to be in person with them and get to have those in person learning experiences with one another. 

Are there things that you might appreciate more after the pandemic ends?

After this pandemic ends I will continue to appreciate the slow-paced family time that has been placed in front of us.  I feel that sometimes we get too busy and things get too crazy and hectic so I am hopeful that I can continue to push on doing the important stuff in life and continue to enjoy each day as they come.  I have learned to not take a single day in person with my kiddos for granet and to continue to show up each and every day as my best self.

What are things that you learnt during the pandemic that you think will carry forward into life post-pandemic? I have learned how technology driven our society is and how much that is not going away so continuing to learn more programs that can be utilized in my science classroom is a must.  I have learned that content knowledge is not always the most important thing and sometimes you just need to let your students guide your learning and lessons that much more. 

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