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Voices - Tyler Nice

Tyler Nice All of our lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a social studies teacher at Thurston High School, my professional life has been impacted as well. As you can see from my picture, I have learned to wear a shirt, tie, and sweatpants. I think of this like a mullet: business on top, casual on the bottom!

More seriously, so many teachers that I have spoken with in the past few weeks have expressed a sense of loss. We miss seeing our students. I don’t know any teachers who teach for money or prestige. We teach because we really like young people. We are grateful to be a part of their academic development. We enjoy interacting with them. This has continued in some ways through digital learning. I have met some very interesting pets in the past few weeks! However, interactions through the screen are not the same, and I think I speak for most teachers when I say that we can’t wait to be back in the classroom again.

Teachers in our district are doing our very best to continue to provide a solid educational experience for Springfield students. For me, the bulk of my work has focused on attempting to prepare students for modified AP exams that will take place in early May. The exams this year have been moved completely online. Additionally, the scoring guides, content, and skills have been altered dramatically. I have spent my time primarily focused on helping students understand how they will be assessed and how to demonstrate proficiency on their upcoming modified exams. Most years, I go into the exams with confidence for my students, feeling a sense of pride for how hard they worked, hopeful that their hard commitment and effort will pay off by earning college credit on a very rigorous exam. This year is no different. Despite all of the challenges and changes, I feel that our students still have a strong chance of earning college credit. I am proud of my students for their willingness to participate in the new reality of distance learning.

The difficulties that we have faced as a nation, a state, and here more locally in Lane County are historic and profound. The adjustment to distance learning has been very challenging for me and so many others in my field. But, I am proud to work for a district that is proactive. Our administrators, instructional coaches, classified employees, and teachers are working hard to provide a high-quality and equitable education that our students deserve.

- Tyler Nice