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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Online, in-person or both?

Students and staff adjust to changes in Spanish classes

When the previous Spanish teacher resigned and the position was left without applicants for months, Yutan had to get creative and make changes. As a result, this school year only Spanish 1 and 2 are offered to students through an online Zoom call.

“When we were not able to find a Spanish teacher, we began looking into alternative solutions to be able to provide students with the opportunity to earn foreign language credit,” guidance counselor Lindsey Madsen said. “The decision was made that Randy Rider was our best option in terms of distance-learning resources. Randy Rider assigns us certified teachers of their team based on the scheduled course times.”

The distance-learning teachers assigned to Yutan are from Tennessee and Pennsylvania, but the school still needed a person in the building to supervise the students. New staff member Megan Widmer, who was a former Spanish teacher, was hired in July to be the proctor of these classes.

Freshmen Eli Kult and Landon Adams respond to the teacher through Zoom for Spanish 1. This teacher, Philip Rooks, is from Tennessee and teaches one class of Spanish 1 and two classes of Spanish 2. (Gabi Tederman)

“I do all the classroom management stuff, the attendance, the grading, the organization of all the papers, the printing off of things, and then I also help the students,” Widmer said.

The class is sectioned into two parts. The Zoom call is twenty-five minutes long and is followed by more assignments or activities given by the proctor. Because the Rider teachers do the actual lessons, it gives Widmer a chance to move around the class more.

“I’m walking around during the class [making] sure that everybody’s on task not messing around,” Widmer said. “So it’s kind of like we have two Spanish teachers in there.”

This gives more opportunities for the students to learn.

“So [the students] have… two people who are very knowledgeable,” Widmer said. “We also can bring two different perspectives to things.”

Having two teachers present has been beneficial for the students.

“Since the class is split, we do online first and the in-person teacher the second half, so we get to review and learn more in the same day,” said freshman Emmy Tederman, who is taking Spanish 1.

This additional adult is also good for student-teacher relationships.

“Since [the teacher is] all the way in Tennessee…he doesn’t understand how our class works and our personalities,” said sophomore Kylie Krajicek, who is taking Spanish 2. “Having another teacher in there who does know us a little bit more is helpful and knows a different way that we might be able to understand it better.”

However, having multiple online teachers comes with some challenges.

“The [teacher] from Tennessee… teaches two sections of Spanish 2 and one section of Spanish 1. And then the other [teacher] teaches just one section of Spanish 1. So it’s a little difficult… organizing that stuff,” Widmer said.

Another challenge is that online class limits student involvement.

Freshman Halle Arlt works on notes during a Zoom call for Spanish 1. Arlt is one of 31 students enrolled in Spanish 1. (Bella Tederman)

“My Spanish classes would do more…movement around and games and things like that or turn and talk to a partner,” Widmer said. “The Spanish teachers don’t use as much of that. It’s more…of a lecture style.”

Tederman agrees that this is a downside to the online part of the class.

“I feel like [last year] was more interactive… face to face with the teacher,” Tederman said.

Aside from these conflicts, wifi some days is the major challenge to this new class structure.

“We weren’t able to connect to the teacher at all (one day), so I ended up just calling him through my phone,” Widmer said. “I ended up teaching the whole class.”

Thanks to Widmer’s background, overcoming these challenges has been doable.

“It is nice since I have the experience of being a Spanish teacher,” Widmer said. “I can just jump in and improvise or teach whatever I need to continue on with whatever we’re doing.”

While the students and proctor are adjusting for now, the future of the program is open to change and adjustments.

“Our hope is that, in the future, we will be able to hire a certified teacher, as we know students learn best in an environment with an in-classroom instructor,” Madsen said. “However, we will have to discuss our options and reflect on this year’s situation before determining what steps we will need to take.”

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About the Contributors
Gabi Tederman, Junior writer
Gabi Tederman is a junior and in her third year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures and writing news stories.  Outside journalism, Gabi is involved in NHS, volleyball, track, and CrossFit.
Bella Tederman, Senior writer
Bella Tederman is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking pictures. Outside journalism, Bella is involved in volleyball, CrossFit, powerlifting, track, speech, FBLA, FCA and NHS.
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