The Quarantine Teacher: Jody Weatherington


By Luca Hatzopoulos, Staff Writer

English teacher Jody Weatherington would normally start her morning by actually attending school and physically interacting with her students; however, due to the remote learning that Niles West has has implemented during this quarantine, it has put a twist on Weatherington’s typical morning routine. Her new morning routine usually consists of putting a weekly calendar in all of her classes Google Classrooms and trying to attend Zoom meetings with her colleagues or students.

“My classes rely heavily on discussion and small group projects. These are difficult to replicate when we cannot be the same room together–tech glitches [or] misunderstanding tone in typed responses make these sorts of interactions far less successful,” Weatherington said. “One of the biggest challenges  is feeling disconnected from my students. Checking in with them through Zoom, email, or Google Classroom isn’t the same as face-to-face interactions.”

Adjustments had to be made to Weatherington’s lesson plans, which was challenging. She planned for her sophomore English classes to originally read Shakespeare’s Othello, but with no in-class preparation before reading the play going into quarantine, Weatherington had to change her class text.

“I’m glad we are reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls instead of Othello because it’s easier for me to understand. The Glass Castle also has an amazing storyline and is very intriguing to read. I enjoy the plot and each character has a unique personality,” sophomore Faith Khoshaba said.

Remote learning has been a rough and confusing time for many students and teachers who had to learn and adjust quickly to what would become their new “normal.” The question is, how will this change and impact students’ mindsets going into the next school year?

“My hope is that students will reevaluate how much they’ve taken going to school for granted. I keep hearing over and over from my students that they really miss being in class. My fear is that students who are not keeping up with their work will struggle to catch up in the fall,” Weatherington said.

“My feelings on remote learning are mixed because on one hand, I miss my friends and teachers but I also enjoy it a lot because I feel like it’s less stress on students and easier to get your work done,” sophomore Saira Khatoon said.

Other than teaching during this quarantine, Weatherington has tried to keep herself busy to the best of her ability.

“One of my lowest points was an afternoon spent color-organizing my t-shirt and sock drawers. On a more positive side, I’ve been taking long walks every day, sewing masks (for personal use and to donate), and crocheting. One of these days, I’ll pick up my ukelele (hopefully),” Weatherington said.

Apart from these new hobbies she has picked up, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters who are in high school as well.

“Because my daughters are both in high school (sophomore and senior) and will be off to college soon, I am appreciative of this time with them (except when they’re rolling their eyes at me). Usually I don’t get to spend much time with them because they both dance 3-5 hours every day after school, plus several hours on Saturdays. I’m trying to see this time with them as an unexpected gift,” Weatherington said.

Although remote learning isn’t the ideal situation for many students and teachers, many have shown that it is possible and worthwhile to make the best out of these difficult circumstances.