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University Honors Program

Senior Spotlight: Student Teaching during COVID-19

By Kaitlin Lewis

The class of 2021 has had a few rough patches as they look to post-graduation opportunities. While so many senior years have had to look different due to the coronavirus, students are still completing their degrees and looking forward to life outside of the UD bubble. One Honors student whose senior year has been shaken up is Claire Evans, secondary religious education and foreign language education in Spanish major. Claire is currently student teaching at Carroll High School, where she is teaching both Spanish and religion classes.

The students at Carroll High School can choose to be in person or completely online for classes, which makes Claire’s student teaching experience much different than in past years. For example, in-person classes are sometimes interrupted by students being put into online classes due to contact tracing and quarantining procedures. Claire also said there are a lot of logistical changes in the classroom that teachers have to remember to ensure safety in the classroom.

“Teachers have to pass out all the papers,” explained Claire on one example of logistical changes in the classroom. “Students can't do the whole 'take one and pass it' routine that saves time.”

Claire said that because of regulations like this, many students use their Chromebook for online activities instead.

“I am a more old-fashioned type of person that likes to have something I can hold and write on, so being in an academic setting where online activities are the safer way to go has been a challenge for me personally,” Claire said.

Despite the challenges of safety protocols in the classroom, Claire has still built relationships with her students and the fellow teachers at Carroll. In her Spanish and religion classes, Claire is currently working with all high school freshmen. 

“High schoolers sure are goofy, but I am sure that I was the exact same way only a couple of years ago,” Claire said. “The teachers at Carroll have been so inclusive and supportive of my entire student teaching experience. I have had so many good conversations with different teachers about different aspects of the profession, and I feel like a member of the Carroll family.”

Through these relationships, Claire said she has earned life-long lessons from the teachers at Carroll that she will always be grateful for. Some of these lessons include learning how to build relationships with the students, how to prioritize her time in the classroom and learning to slow down.

“If there were a word to describe student teaching during a pandemic, it would be growth,” said Claire. “Every day I learn something that requires me to grow, whether I want to or not.”

Claire, along with her fellow Flyer class of 2021, has put in so much work over the last three and a half years to prepare her for life outside of college. As she finishes up her last semester as a UD undergraduate, she offered a reflection on the impact that Dayton has left on her. 

“I look back and cannot believe that I am finally in my final semester at UD. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had, all the people I have met and the growing I have been forced to do. I have made friends for life at UD, and it's very disappointing to end college in the midst of a pandemic. College isn’t easy by any means, but it is exactly what you make of it. You will only get out of it as much as you put in.” 

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