Like many teachers, Robert Smalls’ Weaver preparing for the unknown

By Bob Sofaly

As the beginning of the school year draws near amid the COVID-19 pandemic and parents and the Beaufort County School District must decide between in-person instruction or virtual learning or something in between, like many teachers, Eve Weaver, a 2nd grade teacher at Robert Smalls International Academy, is busy making sure she is ready for whatever may come.

“I’m getting ready for virtual, hybrid or in-person learning,” Weaver said Thursday, July 23 in her classroom as she cleaned and organized her resources.

Hybrid learning is a combination of virtual learning for a couple days a week and being in the classroom for the remainder of the week.

Weaver said if all her students are at home watching her on video, she’ll be ready with a synchronized instruction plan.

“They can’t sit for seven hours watching me. I can’t sit for seven hours,” Weaver said. “So I’ll teach a lesson and tell them I’m going to sign off now for a while and you need to go read this book or do that assignment.”

Weaver said if it comes down to teaching virtually, she’ll teach from her own classroom, where she can change backgrounds depending on which subject she might be teaching.

“I have all my materials and I feel comfortable here. I did not feel comfortable teaching from my kitchen table,” she said. “If I’m going to be teaching reading, I might do it from the word wall or teaching math from the calendar or in front of the big clock. But I don’t know what’s going to happen right now.”

Parents are still deciding what their preferences are, according to Weaver. She said if parents choose “in-person” learning, she’ll be ready for that. “But If they choose virtual, I’ll do virtual and be ready for it.”

Social distancing still has to be worked out, she said. But even that is falling into Weaver’s favor. Her classroom, formerly a middle school science lab, has lots of room, … and four sinks.

“Distancing and washing hands should not be a problem,” she said.

But there are still challenges for the veteran teacher.

“I have all these manipulatives that the children would normally use hands-on, like a large clock, a ruler, counters and blocks.”

Weaver said that approach is out “for obvious reasons.”

Weaver said she also can’t use “buddy readers,” which require her 2nd graders to pair up and sit knees to elbows and read together. Because of distance, Weaver said that isn’t going to happen.

“They’ll have to sit six feet apart so that’s out,” she said.

But Weaver said by the time school starts, whenever that might be, she’ll be ready.

“I’m getting a jump on things. I don’t want to get here on Aug. 24 and have to scramble while learning the new virtual format we’ve been told is coming,” she said. “Whatever happens, I’ll be ready for it.”

Eve Weaver gets her 2nd grade classroom at Robert Smalls International Academy ready for the upcoming school year. Weaver said there is lot of cleaning and organizing to do so she can be ready for whichever instruction format is decided upon. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

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