Mrs. Oak’s Life During the Coronavirus Epidemic


The Covid-19 epidemic has bound us to our homes, the walls separating us from loved ones. Our windows of tolerance continue to close as our daily lives and routines lose balance and meaningful social events shut down. How is Bethpage High School coping with this chaotic time? Mrs. Oak, a world languages teacher and Spanish club advisor, shares her experiences during these tough times, and how her teaching abilities have changed due to the school lockdown.


The Eagle’s Cry: How has life been during this coronavirus epidemic?

Mrs. Oak: Life during this pandemic has been a roller coaster. We are taking it one day at a time (and sometimes one minute at a time)! But my 5-year-old daughter learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, so that was a major highlight.


The Eagle’s Cry: Have you caught up on any hobbies?

Mrs. Oak: I never really enjoyed cooking, probably because it is time consuming and we are always so busy, so I have been trying to learn how to cook. I would not say it is a hobby, but maybe by the time this is all over, I will end up enjoying it!


The Eagle’s Cry: Do you find yourself more stressed or more relaxed during these times? Why?

Mrs. Oak: This is such a great question, because it has definitely been both. It is such a stressful time for everyone, worrying about our loved ones’ health and jobs. But there are silver linings at the same time, like slowing down and spending more time with my daughter, and reconnecting with friends and family via Zoom.


The Eagle’s Cry: What challenges, if any, have you encountered in teaching your students online?

Mrs. Oak: I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but I never expected to be 100% teaching online. As a Spanish teacher, the biggest challenge is creating meaningful online learning experiences that get my students to use the language in some interactive way.


The Eagle’s Cry: What tools have you used to contact your students? 

 Mrs. Oak: It is so important to keep the lines of communication open, so I have been using a lot of different means of communication. I use Google Classroom, Remind, Instagram, Twitter, Seesaw, and Edpuzzle. And I am open to any more good ideas!


The Eagle’s Cry: Have students given responses to your emails and assignment uploads? What would you say to them about their work efforts? 

Mrs. Oak: I am so proud of my students for their resilience during all of this. They are really keeping schools open by continuing to work hard from home. My students have become great problem-solvers, quickly learning how to use new technology, and helping me figure it out at the same time.


The Eagle’s Cry: What is one thing you enjoy about distance learning?

Mrs. Oak: I would so much rather be face-to-face, but some students are really shining with their online work – especially those students who tend to be more introverted and timid in class. I am hearing some voices more often online than I did in class, and that is a definite plus.


The Eagle’s Cry: What do you miss about being in a traditional classroom setting?

Mrs. Oak: I miss seeing my students’ faces every day, and chatting with them

 about their lives, especially the seniors, who shared news about college plans. I also really miss my colleagues and friends.


The Eagle’s Cry: Do you prefer distance learning or teaching in a traditional classroom setting? Why?

Mrs. Oak: I definitely prefer to be in the classroom. There is no replacement for in-person teaching and learning; I think most would agree that this whole experience has proven that to be true. Also, languages are meant to be spoken and heard, and the online setup is much less conducive to authentic human interaction.


The Eagle’s Cry: What is one piece of advice you would like to give students amid this coronavirus pandemic?

Mrs. Oak: One piece of advice I have for our students is to think about what they are learning right now, during this crazy time, that they will carry with them throughout their lives. It could be something like learning how to value and prioritize health and wellness, how to be resilient and persevere, how to be there for others, or how to work through problems together. It might not feel like it right now, but I think we are going to come out of this as stronger, better people.