#WordsofWisdomWednesday: Week Six

In our sixth installment of  #WordsofWisdomWednesday, we hear from a ceramics teacher at Marcos de Niza, Jasen EvoyMr. Evoy teaches ceramics and AP Art History.  He is also a Department Leader for Fine arts, and one the district’s Schoology specialists, who helped lead the efforts to understand what teachers would need in migrating to the new Learning Management System.

Jasen is candid in sharing the worries he had as we approached the start of the school year, “I was worried for the well being of my family and friends. This would ebb and wane, but I consistently felt apprehensive and concerned for my students. Even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to prepare to teach effectively in a virtual environment, I have been very aware of how difficult learning remotely is for many of my students.  My greatest fear has been (and still is) that without the usual structure and relationships present in person, many kids will not find success. Teaching ceramics online sounds like a bad joke, to be honest. It took some creativity and many hours of labor to come up with a solution (namely, take home kits that provided students what they needed to create the projects). “

To help alleviate the stress, Jasen says, “I tried to cope with things in a variety of ways. I immersed myself in work, making tons of instructional videos, online lessons and resources.  I also spend a lot of time mountain biking to try and keep my body and mind healthy. “  

 As someone who uses and is comfortable with technology, he realized this would be very different.  In preparing for this, Jasen, “I tried to follow the KISS method, making content that was easy to navigate, engaging, and allowed my students a greater chance at success. I tried to embed everything I could think of that would provide students with what they needed to be successful.  Unfortunately, most of my "ah-ha" moments have been when technology did not work as expected, and I had to find a solution. The learning platform we use is a challenge, and does not always behave as expected or in an intuitive manner. ”

Like all of our #WordsofWisdomWednesday contributors, Jasen appreciated the collaboration and shared learning with colleagues. “The people in my department humble me every time I see the amazing things they do for kids. We shared ideas, collaborated where we could, and more than anything tried to be supportive and creative. I learned a great deal from other teachers this summer, and found a wide variety of tools that have helped me make the best of this environment.” 

Jasen also reminds all of us, “Be patient and compassionate. This is a really trying time for all of us, and students are in many cases struggling to find success. We need to continue to reach out and show we care, and do what we can to make students understand that they are important to us.”

To listen to more of Jasen’s words of wisdom, watch his special video message.