The Coshocton County Beacon October 28, 2021 - Page 13

October - December
October 28 , 2021 The Beacon • 13

Teachers offer stability during uncertain times

By Jen Jones
For many adults , the last few years have been full of uncertainty and anxiety . It is even worse for children who don ’ t understand all of the changes they have to adapt to . With so much changing constantly in their lives , teachers offer their students stability every day .
Jandi Smailes has been a teacher for 30 years , with most of those years being at Warsaw Elementary . She currently teaches third-grade math and feels her students have been pretty resilient with all of the changes and don ’ t seem to be overly concerned about the virus .
However , academically , she is seeing a change in her students . “ They are showing gaps in their learning from not being in front of the teacher full time during the pandemic . Educators spend time helping kids during the learning process of a lesson being taught . We recognize and adjust instruction depending on the students ’ level of understanding as the lesson is being presented .”
Smailes said teachers may reteach a lesson in a small group or use manipulatives to help students understand .
“ Teaching is more than just a job . Teaching is a chance to impact students ’ lives every single day . Yes , it can be stressful at times , but it can also be the most rewarding job . I love watching students learn and grow academically . I love the look on students ’ faces when they start gaining confidence in themselves . I love forming positive relationships with students and helping them reach their full potential ,” Smailes said .
Tracy Jones is a firstgrade Title 1 reading intervention teacher at Ridgewood Elementary . She has been a teacher for 27 years . She also believes the students are adjusting well to
the changing COVID protocols and are happy to be back in school with their friends and teachers . She also is seeing an effect on students ’ academic levels .
“ We have had to spiral back and reteach the standards and skills from the previous grade level . During the last two years with mostly remote and hybrid learning being the norm , the students have had a difficult time acquiring and strengthening those fundamental skills that
“ Students spent most of last year either remote or in a hybrid model of learning . This year students appear happy to be back seeing friends and staff and having a school routine .”
— Jeff Larr , teacher at Ridgewood Elementary
are so important in education . This , of course , is not the fault of the students , teachers or parents but just a negative result of the way life has been since COVID .”
When asked why she continues to teach , Jones said , “ Honestly , it has
crossed my mind on those especially challenging days to pursue a different , less stressful career . However , despite all of the frustration and challenges , the people are why I continue to teach . I am blessed to be able to work with wonderful students , parents and colleagues . Also , not every job has the extra benefit of receiving hugs from children on a daily basis .”
Jeff Larr is a first-grade teacher at Ridgewood Elementary and has been teaching for over 25 years . “ Students spent most of last year either remote or in a hybrid model of learning . This year students appear happy to be back seeing friends and staff and having a school routine . Academically , I always start the school year with reteaching and brush up on skills previously taught .
However , this year I have gone a bit slower and more deliberate to make sure that those skills are in place and progressing .
“ Despite the challenges , teaching is what I am supposed to be doing . I get to work with awesome people at an amazing district . Teaching first grade is simply the best . For me , there is something magical about being in a classroom . First-graders go from not knowing to knowing each and every day . Regardless of my age or new protocols , I still enjoy being a part of our school community .”
Coshocton City Schools sixth-grade intervention specialist Kelly McCrea said she has a passion for teaching students with disabilities . “ The Coshocton City School
See TEACHERS Page 14
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KIDS AMERICA 2021 YOUTH ACTIVITIES / LEAGUES

October - December
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