Jennifer Beach, a biology teacher at North Penn High School, has only begun her career here this year – however, she began in the middle of it. Through pandemic and computer screens, Mrs. Beach has persistently given her best efforts to give her students the best possible education.
While teaching a mix of students in school and at home is challenging enough, Beach has a challenge of her own: beginning teaching in the middle of the year.
Beach has replaced long-time NPHS biology teacher Mrs. Nina Ferrant, who retired halfway through the first marking period this year. The district hired Beach, who has taught part-time chemistry classes at the district for a while now.
“It was a pretty quick turnaround, that’s for sure,” said Beach about the timing to get her into her new position. “Especially since we’re in pandemic circumstances, a quick turnaround was kind of necessary. But it was beneficial that I had already had experience teaching in the district prior, which really helped the whole process move forward smoother.”
While teaching during the pandemic is hard, some aspects are undoubtedly more difficult than others.
“The biggest challenge teaching during a pandemic is really being able to ensure that you are able to connect with and be able to reach your students. Teaching online compared to in-person, day-to-day, while similar, it is fairly different and difficult to teach when everyone on your screen is a muted icon instead of being able to gauge people’s reactions,” Beach said.
Mrs. Beach has had some successes this year, however.
“I’d say that just interacting with you guys in any capacity makes my job a lot easier.” This is a rarity nowadays, however, with most students being taught virtual at one point or another every day, which brings about an almost chronic epidemic of little to no face to face interaction.
Being a mother of two school-aged children, including one in high school, has been beneficial for her during this time.
“I think, being a teacher, I’ve been able to help them navigate a bit better than the average parent. Being fortunate enough to have a high schooler and a middle schooler, they are able to navigate online learning fairly well by themselves.”
Mrs. Beach has large shoes to fill, given to her by Mrs. Ferrant, who taught at North Penn for 15 years. But with her current successes in teaching, even in this environment, she should be able to fill these shoes well for years to come.