New teacher devoted to connecting with her new students, despite pandemic’s obstacles.
A new job is always a tough but exciting endeavor in a person’s life. What makes this year uniquely challenging? The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. But this doesn’t phase West Side’s newest Jr. High English teacher: Ms. Muth. She felt confident, explaining that through her previous work experience, notably at Noblesville Middle School, she felt prepared for the tough job. “Once a month we would have an e-learning day” she says and she was already familiar with canvas as it was used there regularly. Thanks to that, “coming in here wasn’t as scary.”
Yet, Muth’s preparation for this abnormal year goes beyond navigating tech; Muth was always a natural teacher. She says, “When I was in grade school I used to line up all my dolls and teach them my homework.” In order to fulfill her lifelong aspirations, Muth attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, not too far from the Scranton Wilkes-Barre area in Pennsylvania where she grew up. She then attended Scranton University to complete her Master’s Degree in curriculum design and instruction. She jokes, saying that most people recognize her home because it’s “where The Office is set.”
Despite the fun that the characters seemed to have working in the corporate world, Muth had her sights set on teaching middle school. She says “I wanted to teach more of the middle school, junior high, and I think it’s a pivotal time in their lives.” Instruction at this point is crucial as the students are “forming who they want to be in society,” she says. “I always wanted to kind of be a part of that, and hopefully help shape one of them- at least one- to choose the right path.”
This also involves what she says has been her most positive experience: building relationships with students. “You go into it knowing that you’re going to make relationships with your students, but to see how strong of a bond you can have with them is really cool.” Although “not having that daily face to face” this year makes it “different to interact with somebody,” Muth’s own path led her to end up teaching at West Side “for good,” creating future opportunity for her to create those bonds within the community.