Faculty take different approaches to e-learning


Brooks Neverly

Mr. Neverly using a Twitch stream yesterday to host a “virtual parent-teacher conference” to talk to students and their parents about expectations for the rest of the year.

By Francisco Avila, Mount Carmel High School - IL

Many believe that ever since the COVID-19 virus came out it primarily affects those working on the front lines, such as nurses, doctors, and paramedics but another group that has been affected is educators.

With students being told to stay at home and school years being canceled, teachers around the globe have had to adapt to new and alarming circumstances and take a different approach to their day-to-day teaching.

As a result of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, Mount Carmel teachers like Kevin Quirk, Jerrold Blew, Dominic Scheuring, and Brooks Nevrly have employed apps like Zoom, Google Meet, or Twitch for a form of communication with students while they’re at home, which consequently gives more work to the teachers aside from the regular work they already have of preparing new lessons every day.

Coach Blew, who’s been teaching upperclassmen math for a long time at Mount Carmel, briefly explains his approach of using Zoom and how it changed his traditional way of teaching during e-Learning. He has also noticed a lack of attendance.

“I teach Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, Honors Pre-Calculus, and Algebra 2. I used zoom and posting notes on google classroom. Not enough people attended zoom but the majority turned in assignments.”

Quirk acknowledges the frustration e-learning has brought in affecting the relationship between him and his students and he also points out that his approach to teaching is also influenced, he misses the crucial interaction on a day-to-day basis with students.

“I feel like I’m losing the relationships with my guys that I’d worked hard to develop, and I don’t want to lose that. My classroom style during Quarantine has been asynchronous, which means that we do not meet together, rather I post assignments, with instructions, and the guys do the work.”

However, once the virus ends and the new school year begins, Quirk is eager to return to the comfortable setup he’s used back at Mount Carmel.

“I’m excited to get back in the classroom ASASP (As Soon As Safely Possible) but these emails are a good way for me to recall our times in the classroom, so thank you for reaching out!”

Nevrly recognized that it would be important to establish face to face interaction, so immediately employed apps like Twitch and he also acknowledges what his students are currently working on to keep busy during this time.

“Overall, e-learning has been an interesting transition for teachers and students.  I host my classroom on Twitch where I live stream my lessons, office hours, and presentations.  I even hosted a virtual parent-teacher conference where I outlined for parents what students would be doing in the coming weeks.  My sophomores are reading Shakespeare where I will read the play to them and they will type their responses in the chat to make sure that they are following along.  My juniors are finishing up an essay on The Great Gatsby where they submit to me their drafts and I give them feedback.  I make sure that my student’s check-in on Twitch whenever they can.”

Nevrly doesn’t forget to mention the difficult transition to a technological leaning however he knows no matter the hardships, in the end, the success of the students is worth it.

“Ultimately, it has been a process that I think our MC faculty has handled with flexibility and grace.  Obviously, we wish that we could be back in school but for what we were dealt with, I believe that we have done a very effective job in making sure our students are engaged. This situation has allowed us to rekindle our perspective that the purpose of why we all went into teaching was to be with our students and watch them grow.“

No matter the hardships teachers like Kevin Quirk, Jerrold Blew, and Brooks Nevrly and so many others around the globe have faced because of this challenging transition they will prevail when together they reach the finish line the success of the students is worth it.

This story was originally published on The Caravan on May 15, 2020.