Learning to Teach in the Age of COVID

­­­­Teaching is not only a career for Alex Buck; it’s his destiny. One of Alex’s earliest memories is from second grade when he drew pictures of himself as a teacher – complete with a classroom full of students.  

Fast forward to college: Alex studied History and French at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After earning his degrees in 2017, Alex combined his love of teaching, travel, and language by accepting a two-year position as an English teacher in France.

When Alex returned to the U.S. in 2019, he settled for a position at a jewelry company while figuring out his next steps. When COVID-19 hit, he, like so many others, lost his job. “I honestly didn’t know what to do next and decided that it was time to finally commit to teaching,” he says.

Alex chose to pursue his career goal through the PEBC Teacher Residency program. Under guidance of a mentor teacher, Alex teaches 8th grade U.S. History at Stuart Middle School in Brighton, CO. He chose to study with PEBC because he wanted to work with students from day one. Though, as it turns out, “working with students” has been largely through a screen.

“Of course, teaching students virtually is not what I pictured when I was in second grade,” Alex commented. “There are moments when my students are really quiet, and it can be hard to assess their understanding of the content when they don’t have their cameras on.”

Instead of becoming discouraged, Alex looks for the silver lining. “It is true that 2020 was a pretty awful year, and no one is unscathed,” says Alex. “On the bright side, my PEBC coaches and mentors have helped me to develop some great tools for my tool belt. I feel much more prepared to handle future challenges.”

Thanks to these tools, Alex finds ways to connect with his students. “One thing that surprised me about teaching is how deeply I have bonded with my students,” says Alex. “I care about every single one of them, and I truly enjoy spending time with them.”

When asked if he has any regrets about entering teaching during this tumultuous time, Alex responds with a firm, “No.”  “I would absolutely do this again,” he states. “I am entering teaching at the right time in my life. I would not go so far as to say I am grateful for 2020, but I am thankful to be able to take the things that have happened to me and turn it into something positive.”

This time next year, Alex hopes to be teaching U.S. History to his own classroom full of learners in person. “I am passionate about sharing my hope and joy with students to help them envision their future,” he says.


If you are interested in learning about about becoming a teacher, visit www.pebc.org/teacher-preparation/

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