A Salute to Our Teachers
The first week of May is National Teacher Appreciation Week.
The following is an article from the latest NDA Magazine.
Diane Mulroney provides a burst of energy at the start of each of her classes.
The Spanish teacher greets her students with a vibrant “Hola!” as she spins a cart around with a laptop on it so the students joining the class via Zoom can see their peers in the classroom for a moment before she circles it back around to herself to begin the lesson.
Enlightening students that are directly in front of you while also engaging ones who are following along virtually has been the juggling act of the 2020-21 school year.
Watching Mulroney and all of the teachers at Notre Dame Academy pull this off is much like seeing a master chef in a busy kitchen mixing ingredients at a rapid pace for multiple orders and dishes.
There was no clear blueprint or template for how to handle education during a worldwide pandemic. The recipe for success has been a combination of adaptation, courage, flexibility and plenty of patience.
All of the classrooms at NDA were carefully measured and rearranged in preparation for this unique academic year to ensure each desk was placed at least six feet away from any other seat. Meanwhile, tape marks on the floor in front of a marker board provide an outline for the space teachers can instruct from. It’s an ironic visual because this year has required an enormous amount of outside-the-box thinking.
A wide array of digital tools have been a huge aid to educators, who have worked tirelessly to adjust to the fluid schedules that have become a way of life since the outbreak of COVID-19. You can see the effort on display everywhere in the building located at 610 Maryhill Drive in Green Bay.
For example, during the last week of the third quarter first-year NDA teacher Megan McClay was using her prep period to go over math equations with a couple of students while directly across the hall Sue Nelson, one of the most tenured educators at NDA, was doing the same thing for two students in one of her science classes.
Although students today often have Chromebooks and digital tablets in their backpacks, it was comforting to see McClay and Nelson’s students still using the powerful and trusted tools of a pencil and paper.
Everyone longs for the days of when Zoom was a word better known as being a feature on a camera. It’s through photos that an outsider can truly appreciate what educators are accomplishing during these unprecedented times.
Nonverbal cues have been heightened since masks have covered one of the most precious and endearing things we all possess – a smile.
A smile is traditionally something students will unknowingly provide as confirmation that they are understanding the material being taught. The COVID-19 pandemic has stolen that emotional cue away. The rise of cheekbones and eyebrows provide a glimpse for teachers to know that there are in fact still smiles behind those masks.
Our talented and dedicated educators have faced and overcome a lot of obstacles in the past year. They wish everyone could witness the progress still being made each day by their students, and they can’t wait until they can share smiles with their students again.
About Notre Dame Academy: Notre Dame Academy is located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is a co-ed Catholic high school founded by the Norbertine Order, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Diocese of Green Bay. NDA’s distinctive history embraces the more than 120-year foundation of St. Joseph Academy, Abbot Pennings High School and Our Lady of Premontre High School. NDA offers a globally focused education with a leading IB Diploma Program. Its high-caliber educational community is focused on outstanding learning and creating a lifetime of opportunity for all students.