Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier staff writer
After three years of learning, Berry’s senior education majors are left with uncertainties regarding their final year of student teaching. In an effort to keep student teachers, their students, and the Berry community safe, students are not allowed to work in schools that don’t have COVID-19 safety requirements that align with Berry’s rules.
In order for a Berry student to work at a school, that school must require face masks at all times, and enforce social distancing. Students must also remain in their classrooms for the majority of the day, eating breakfast and lunch in their classroom. Senior elementary education major, Callan McAnnally, says that students will be doing less group work and are encouraged to ask the teacher for help instead of other students to prevent any spread of germs. Senior secondary education major, Kathryn Weaver, says that schools are going paperless, with students turning in assignments via Google Classrooms or Canvas.
“It’s great that all these things like Google Meets and Zoom exist so that it is possible, it’s just different and not what we’ve been taught for three years,” McAnnally said.
When the student teachers return to campus, they have the same screening process as other students, with temperature checks at the gate. Berry is expecting students to act the same off-campus as they would on-campus. This means following social distancing, and wearing a mask.
Kylie Hamilton, a senior music education major, says that some music ed students were unable to complete their pre-planning with their cooperative teachers, due to those schools not having similar safety requirements as Berry. Pre-planning is a large part of teaching, and not having a lot of experience is scary for some students.
“We might know what to do after that, but [pre-planning is] the first thing you do,” Hamilton said. “That’s the first thing parents and students see.”
Students are learning to adapt quickly and handle changes. Weaver says that she believes there will be aspects of teaching that this class will be better prepared for.
“We have to be more willing to adapt,” Weaver said. “It’s new to faculty, teachers, it’s new to everyone.”
Despite the challenges, senior music education major Emma Webber says the faculty has been helpful in helping students understand what the changes are.
“All of our professors are working really hard to get us the answers we need to take the next step,” Webber says.