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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

From Zoom to classroom

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With the summer winding down, teachers and students prepare to make a return to the classroom and begin to move away from virtual learning. 

COVID-19 challenged education at all levels, impacting the teachers who began their careers in the 2020-2021 school year. New Aggie teachers are looking forward to a new teaching experience, moving away from the Zoom format back into a traditional face-to-face classroom.
In the 2020-2021 school year, the Texas Education Agency reported that nearly 2.5 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade learned remotely, both synchronously and asynchronously, leaving teachers to juggle either entirely remote formats or a combination of in-person and virtual teaching.
For Aubrey Wilson, Class of 2020 and fifth grade math teacher, the most difficult part of the past year was facing a mountain of unanswered questions. While it put pressure on her, she said she had great support within her school and tried to focus on what she could control.
“My district gave me an instructional coach and a partner teacher, and my partner teacher was amazing. Leading into it, I didn’t know what I needed to be doing, so I wanted to focus on trying to get things for my classroom set up,” Wilson said. “I feel like I went into it with an open mind, and not trying to pressure myself to figure out exactly what I needed to do.”
In addition to the pressures of a new job, these first-year teachers also had to face a set of problems unfamiliar to even veteran teachers, such as balancing in-person and online courses. Wilson said she experimented with different styles and stayed honest with her students about issues she had.
“I’ve never taught before in a real class, and now I have to teach online, and I don’t know how to do that. I feel like throughout the year we were changing the process,” Wilson said. “A lot of learning as I went, a lot of ‘sorry guys, the link doesn’t work’ or ‘sorry I didn’t post that.’ It was really hard, but I think next year is going to feel easy because this year was so hard.”
Sara Farag, Class of 2020 and third grade math and science teacher, said a unique barrier was the impact of a shortened school year on students’ learning progress.
“Many of [my students] had missed the end of their second grade year, meaning they were already starting the year behind where they should be,” Farag said. “This meant that we had to incorporate the previous year’s [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] material into everything we taught. Lesson planning became a very intentional and methodical process that often ended up running into our weekends or personal time.”
Though this year presented many challenges, Farag said it also showed her students’ willingness to adapt to new situations.
“The most important thing I learned is how resilient children are. I was shocked at how excited my students were to come back into the classroom. My students definitely missed learning, and were eager to see their friends after spending months alone during lockdown,” Farag said. “Even during the freeze without heat or electricity, students were missing school. Their love of learning and excitement for being in the classroom truly made the impossibly difficult year worth it.”
Wilson also said her relationship with her students greatly improved their difficult year, and she was inspired by her professors at Texas A&M.
“The relationships [my professors] created with us were something I always thought about when creating relationships with my fifth graders… sometimes that’s all you’re going to have,” Wilson said. “I might not be able to take you that far educationally if there’s something in the way of your learning, but I can always take you further if I create a relationship with you because I can make you like to learn.”
Despite the events of her first year teaching, Farag said she is still immensely excited about the upcoming school year, and hopes others will remain optimistic.
“I want all other new Aggie teachers to know that they should not give up. These can be difficult times, but remember why we got into the profession,” Farag said. “These children need us now more than ever, and they are the reason we work as hard as we do. Keep them at the center of your day, because that will get you through those days when teaching can seem impossible.”

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