Juliette Hammonds

Wayman Academy of the Arts
Jacksonville, Florida
Juliette Hammonds, 3rd Grade Math and Science Teacher

I was both excited and nervous at the same time about returning to “Brick n Mortar” this school year. I had missed seeing the faces of our students, connecting one on one with them, and having collegial conversations with my peers. Returning to school was easier than the quick transition we had to make in March. Now I am more comfortable using technology with our students. We utilize the Zoom and Google Classrooms’ platform to teach virtual students.

Students attending Brick and Mortar are quickly adapting to the new change of wearing masks, shields, and social distancing. They are eager to learn and succeed. I can tell that they realize what they had missed in previous months and are now working harder than before to make up for the lost time. We are already seeing schoolwide learning gains happening.

As a 3rd grade math and science teacher I have to be creative with my classes, in person and virtual both to solve mathematical problems and help them have a clear understanding of the analytical skills as well. At times it becomes tiring for us teachers to balance two different forms of learning setups. Regardless of the challenges and being in the learning mode ourselves, we are discovering new things every day. We have started utilizing technology in an interactive and resourceful manner. For example, I discovered that an iPad can screen mirror a laptop and project at the board simultaneously. My excitement is carried over to my students, who then get excited about trying new things during these new times.

The part I miss the most is the weekly assemblies, where students were recognized, and we had a chance to celebrate with each other in a large group setting. It created a sense of unity and synergy in the school. Having my classroom to myself during lunch was an added benefit before students started eating in the rooms. Apart from that, the transition back to school has been a pleasant one. I hope for all our students to return back to the Brick and Mortar setting soon. Here at Wayman all stakeholders are showing perseverance, flexibility, and a positive outlook during these very uncertain times. For us, student learning always comes first. We still Expect Success and Nothing Less from all our students.

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