Student teachers learn to instruct a classroom in a whole new way

UD senior and education major shares her experience student teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, photo courtesy of Grace Takacs.

Bridgett Dillenburger
Contributing Writer

Senior education majors at the University of Dayton have been challenged with completing their student teaching this school year while adapting to the guidelines of COVID-19. 

While COVID-19 has affected the structure of education for most students, student teachers have had to adjust to changes in their own schools as well as the schools where they are teaching.

Grace Takacs, a middle childhood and intervention specialist major at UD with concentrations in English and mathematics, is student teaching eighth-grade math this year at a Dayton Schools.

Student teaching placements are typically received at the end of junior year for students. However, due to COVID complications and restrictions, Takacs Received her final placement after the start of her senior year.

With the many changes, the university faculty and education professors have been supportive throughout the year. Takacs compliments professors in the education and mathematics departments who have contributed to her success this year.

“After every class in the fall they would remind us that this year is hard, and we are facing challenges that no one has ever gone through before,” said Takacs.

“The professors would constantly tell us how proud they are of us for always giving 100 percent in our classes and doing our best.”

Takacs taught fully remote for the first semester and transitioned into a hybrid setting after her school’s winter break. She now creates double lesson plans for her students, in-person and digital. While it is a different approach, most lessons are not too challenging to adapt and are just as enjoyable to plan. 

“I have been so grateful to learn about teaching online and the plethora of resources there are to help students engage with the lessons over Zoom,” said Takacs. “My school has done a wonderful job of supporting me as a student teacher.”

Takacs remains positive throughout the unpredictable semester and recognizes her influence as a future educator.

When working with middle school students, maintaining social distance can be difficult. Takacs recognizes that the lack of peer interaction can impact her students and so she works to balance safety and social needs.

“The pandemic was hard but I have adapted to this new reality and ran with it,” said Takacs. “Showing students that I am comfortable with this change helps them adapt and grow as individuals as well.” 

Despite this year’s uncertainty, the University of Dayton education students have used their experience for growth and improvement.

Takacs shows that students have continued to feel encouraged in their studies by the university and their professors.

“UD has done an amazing job of supporting us through this wild ride that is 2020-2021,” said Takacs.

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