Virginia Beach first-year teachers prepare to teach in ‘new normal’


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As you’d guess, it can challenging for someone who’s just out of school and teaching for the first time, but there’s a whole new layer on top of what they already have to prepare for when the coronavirus pandemic gets in the middle of things.

Andrew Holt and Tucker Blythe had to learn to adjust to a brand-new assignment as first-year teachers at Kempsville High School amid a pandemic.

“It’s funny, we had one class in my master’s program at William & Mary. It was my digital technologies class and I sent him a message not too long ago and I just said, you know, ‘Your class is proving to be far more useful than I ever thought it was going to be,'” Blythe said.

Although it’s not the way he pictured his teaching career would start, Blythe is welcoming virtual learning and all the challenges and opportunities that come with it.

“All that passion is still there,” he said. “I’m excited to see my students whether it’s over Zoom or in the classroom when we come back.”

He isn’t alone. Holt, a first-year teacher at Kempsville High School, is in the same boat.

“I feel like I’m going to have to use the mute button a lot,” he said.

Andrew speaks from some experience. Although he’s a first-year teacher in the U.S., he spent time teaching in Honduras and was there when the country saw their coronavirus outbreak.

“I was scuba-diving on an island and the country shut down and then they were like ‘You gotta have virtual plans ready for Monday’ and this was on like Saturday, and I was like, we didn’t have any flex time or time to prepare,” Holt said.

Both he and Blythe looked forward to walking into a classroom filled with bright, young students, but that’s on hold for now.

“We’re all new teachers this year,” Blythe said. “Even if you taught for 25 years, you’re still a new teacher because you need to learn how to do this in a completely different way.”

“Education is constantly changing, you know,” Holt said. “I mean look at these teachers who have been teaching for five or 10 years and the things they learned in school, you know, are really changing right now. It’s like a new generation of educators.”

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