Teachers attend workshop in preparation of snow days


Emma Bird, Staff Writer

This summer, BSM teachers engaged in a bit of classroom work themselves: focusing on strategies to deliver online content. Teachers attended a workshop prepare themselves for the possibility of another polar vortex so that the online classes, that some students might remember from last year, can be executed more smoothly.

Last year, six school days were canceled due to the frigid temperatures that were considered too dangerous for students to attend school. Many schools in Minnesota had to add on extra school days at the end of the year or had to have class on days that were originally non-school days. BSM, however, chose a different route by having students attend “online school.” Teachers post homework assignments online, and students had to complete them by a certain time. Some teachers even posted tests or quizzes.

Students had varied reactions to the idea of online school. While some students said that they liked it, many students complained because of the confusion and lack of organization. This is why classes, called “Polar Vortex Teaching,” were offered to the faculty of BSM during the summer. The classes focused on giving teachers an idea of “how to better create lessons and [understand] what options you have,” senior high math teacher Mr. Dan Bowler said.

The benefits of these classes will be apparent if school is cancelled this winter. Last year, teachers assigned “busy work,” BSM senior, Claire Kalb, said. There was also confusion about what was expected of students. This year, however, teachers will be able to not only hold class and give homework more efficiently, but also hold office hours. “I can hold calculus office hours from 2-3 [and] if I need to I can make a video and post it and work out a problem,” Mr. Bowler said. However, this new style of teaching doesn’t only benefit the students. Mr. Bowler reported that last year it would take him hours to create lessons, and he needed to hold office hours after that. However, Polar Vortex Teaching helped the teachers learn how to create a lesson plan that would be much easier to put online.

Because it is now easier for the teachers to have class through online school, there will be less confusion in terms of student expectations. So in the case that we have a freezing, blustery winter, students can be thankful that teachers are bound to be more prepared on online school days.