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Teaching at R-MA Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kyle Mackey teaches math for middle school students at Randolph-Macon Academy. He also coaches basketball during the winter, and flag football during the spring. For Mr. Mackey and all other teachers at our private academy, this has been a particularly unique year, as they have all needed to navigate teaching in-person classes to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although accomplishing this has been a challenge across the board, Mr. Mackey is continuing to teach math and coach basketball during the winter months. He makes the best out of the situation by teaching classes in ways that challenge students and mesh well with their learning style.

Here’s what Mr. Mackey has to say about his experience returning to in-person teaching.

How Mr. Mackey Has Been Teaching Students During the Pandemic

This is Mr. Mackey’s third year teaching at R-MA, and 17th year as a teacher. His primary responsibility is being a math instructor for middle school students. “I endeavor for my classroom to be a place where students can grow in their thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical skills,” he says.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, Mr. Mackey says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about R-MA’s handling of pandemic precautions. He also appreciates how R-MA’s schedule has been adjusted to allow for limited class sizes, social distancing on-campus, and increased sanitation. Furthermore, he has found ways to make his teaching style at our preparatory middle school adapt to the world’s current circumstances.

“Although we have not been able to do as many activities where we get up out of our seats and move around the room, we have still been able to work on math projects and lessons that encourage students to be problem solvers and critical thinkers,” he says. “I have also worked to make sure to teach lessons that reach all kinds of learners, whether they be kinesthetic, auditory, visual, etc.”

In-Person Classes at Our Private Academy, and How They’re Going

Teaching in-person classes during the pandemic at our private academy has had its share of challenges—namely, with adhering to physical distancing measures (staying six feet apart at all times), wearing masks, and cleaning the facilities more thoroughly than usual. Despite this, Mr. Mackey believes that the benefits of carrying on with classes on-campus outweigh the costs. “Our students are experiencing these difficult times together, and they are better able to learn from each other and their teachers when they are in class together, as opposed to being isolated in their homes,” he says. “I was pleased to see how well my students adapted to online learning in the spring, but I have enjoyed having them back in my classroom even more.”

Although Mr. Mackey admits that it’s been challenging, he appreciates the opportunity to interact in-person with his students and colleagues. He also enjoys running basketball drills outdoors as the weather gets colder, and hopes the remainder of the school year will continue to allow students to attend classes in-person safely. “Middle schoolers often chafe at rules that they don’t necessarily agree with, and we certainly need to give them reminders about pulling their masks up and staying socially distant,” he says. “For the most part, though, they are happy to be in school together.”

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