Tyler Maroushek, Winona native and 2019 graduate of Winona State University, now finds himself as an elementary special education teacher in Byron, MN. As the school year comes to a close, Maroushek reflects back on this year’s transition to remote delivery, and how he was able to remain firmly fixed on the most important thing, the students and their education.
Maroushek says he has been working with his students remotely through a school issued iPad where he uses apps such as Seesaw and Google Meet to connect with his students virtually. He explains that while the absence of face to face delivery has been challenging in continuing the personal connection with his students, it has been no challenge whatsoever for his students to connect with the content.
Maroushek talks of one of his first grade students who explained that he loved the new online learning platform because it allowed him to do things at his own pace, take a break when needed, and come back to it when he felt ready. Maroushek has realized that even though there is no in-person, face-to-face time spent with his students, they are still able to connect with the content and with their teacher online.
He explains the importance of delivering content based on individual student needs, saying that he seeks to support students through daily highs and lows whether in person or remotely. His emphasis is on working hard to create consistency for his students so they can continue to make gain towards meeting their goals. Because of the transition to remote learning, daily routines and habits have been completely warped. To help support his students through this he connects with his students virtually and not only works with them on school content but talks and hangs out with them if they need a shoulder to lean on. “This is a new experience for everyone,” Maroushek says, “and I just want to be there and support my students and their families in any way that I can.”
To help during this transitional period, Tyler has forged collaborative strength within his special education (SPED) team of teachers and paraprofessionals to collectively create a thriving virtual learning environment in which students can succeed. He explains, “We all have each other’s back and support one another. We all have one goal in common and that is to support our students in any way that we can, together.” He is able to meet virtually with his team twice a week and discuss ways that they can make flex learning a better environment for everyone.
Although Tyler’s first year of teaching has been unconventional, he knows that he chose the right profession. He explains his passion for working with students and seeing them succeed has been the most rewarding aspect. “When I think about why I am in this profession, the joy that it brings to come to work to see all of my students, and helping students feel loved and successful outweighs the challenges any day,” explains Maroushek.
As the remote school year comes to a close, Maroushek continues to focus on supporting and encouraging his students as they meet their goals. He has learned to embrace and succeed as a SPED teacher in the present uncertainty, “Taking the days as they come and being consistent on a daily basis is my plan. Every day is a new day. We never know what the next day will bring.”
Emily Vander Laan
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