Struggling Workers, or Underdogs? The Virtual Adaptation for New Teachers at DVC

Ryan Gardner

Teachers at Da Vinci have had to take the learning curve of virtual school with a grain of salt. New teachers have especially shown perseverance this past semester to ensure the most successful school year possible, while also having to adapt to the new learning structure.
Over the past school year, Da Vinci had to transfer to virtual instruction. Students and staff have adjusted as best as they can as it has been nearly eleven months since the pandemic began.
Einstein Lopez is not only new but as the Physics 9 teacher also teaches a curriculum that covers both math and science. Lopez himself has been one to make lots of mistakes, so he understands when students don’t do everything perfect and specifically within a virtual environment.
“It’s okay, everyone’s gonna make a mistake and it’s just important that you learn from it, that you know, making sure that you learn from it is what matters,” Lopez said.
A freshman, Logan Stephenson, shares how teachers like Einstein have helped her along the way.
“They have been providing extra help for the classes like if I was like to fail a test or something, I will get extra help so I can retake the test, helping me with all the work that has been hard for me, and providing me with resources,” Stephenson said. “In the beginning, I wasn’t doing too well until I started doing the extra classes that he provided, but now I say I’ve gotten better than I was in the beginning.”

Most students at DVC can agree that Physics is not the easiest subject, especially when it is being taught virtually through a computer screen and without hands-on assistance to help one better understand the science. During class, Einstein provides many breaks and classwork time and asks important questions that have helped students out during lectures. Teachers like Einstein Lopez are very good examples of how new staff at DVC are merging into the community with much-needed strength and perseverance.
Mistakes are common for students and teachers, yet there is still lots of pressure added when it comes to deadlines and how students must meet them despite not having traditional resources being at school helps with. The new English 10 teacher, Ajané Dodson, gives her approach when handling assignments students submit during the pandemic.

“One thing that makes me different from other teachers is that I’m extremely flexible, because as a student, like when I was in high school I felt like I knew the material, and I learned. I did it. Like ‘Why should you dock my grade if it’s late?” Dodson said. “I felt like that as a student and I kind of carried that over as a teacher.”

It has been confirmed that 88% of Americans think their teachers had a significant role in their lives.
Perseverance is evident in the teaching methods provided by 9th-grade teachers. However, in the classroom, there is, at times, low engagement between students and teachers within Zoom classes like Einstein’s and Dodson’s.
As teachers try their best to get active engagement there may always be a little bit of disconnect, particularly for new students and staff.
Physics teacher Janeé Gerard who has worked alongside new teachers such as Einstein shares her perspective on the difficulties for new students and teachers while in the pandemic.
“There are some teachers that are brand new teachers this year and new to DVC. So that’s two layers of challenge is how to learn how to struggle through your first year teaching which is hard, no matter who you are, and do it virtually,” said Gerard. “So there’s a lot going on for new teachers and I feel for them but they’re working so hard and doing such a good job.”
New students and staff are attempting to be as connected as they can be. With this being the start of new teaching and academic careers, time will tell how teachers fit in and connect with staff and students post-pandemic.
“I’m doing something I love; I love teaching. I love the kids that I’m working with. So seeing them, and their progress and just talking to them, it’s definitely something that gets me through, the difficulties of every day,” Lopez said.