AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the Texas Education Agency requiring many teachers to return to class for spring semester, McCallum High School decided to take a different approach by moving their classes outside.
“I was very nervous about returning,” said Sarah Noack, a science teacher at McCallum High School. “But I quickly understood that we needed to be back in some way to support kids that need the in-person learning.”
McCallum High School Interim Principal Nicole Griffith saw just how many teachers were worried about returning to campus, and asked them what they thought about moving classrooms outdoors.
“When we first started this we just said hey who is interested in teaching outside? Let’s have a meeting and talk about i,t and we had about 35 teachers come,” Griffith said. “And they just started doing it. I have teachers who haven’t been in the building at all.”
Neilan Garcia, a senior at McCallum, says some of his friends have even returned to in-person learning because of the new setting.
“There is plenty of space to spread out and still work and be comfortable,” Garcia said.
The teachers have set up workspaces across the campus, under trees, at benches, or even under a tent.
“It is a great way to learn and kids are really engaged outside,” Griffith said.
Some teachers say they even feel less stress about going to school to teach.
“It really has lessened my anxiety about being at school,” Noack said. “I feel really comfortable being at school because I am outside.”
It has become so popular that some are considering to continue teaching outside after the pandemic.
“Some teachers have gotten so excited about it they tell me they are not going back,” Griffith said.