This week’s Homegrown Hero is Aimée Rose Babbin, Chemistry, Physics and Research teacher. This past week we caught up with her to know more about her story, and what she has experienced since the pandemic started. We thank Amy for all her efforts and for inspiring our club with her acts.
Tell me about your career and what inspires you every day?
I am a high school science teacher, teaching AP Chemistry, Honors Physics, and Research. I absolutely love my career. I get to be nerdy all day and teach about the subjects I really enjoy, and I get a lot of fulfillment from feeling like I can make a little bit of a difference and leave a small mark on the world by educating the next generation. I strive to both encourage and challenge my kids to work to their potential. I am inspired by my fellow teachers around the country who rolled up their sleeves and immediately went to work when the pandemic hit. My colleagues took decades of experience and shifted on a dime, and I will be forever in awe of how seamless our transition was to virtual learning back in March. There's so much politics and personal opinions invading education but when teachers are enabled to use their professional knowledge, we rise to the occasion.
How much have your job duties changed since the pandemic started?
The overall teaching duties are relatively the same (same courses, same curriculum), but I've had to learn completely new ways of delivering my content. Remote instruction is incredibly complex and it's not possible to just take what I did in person and "do it online" - methodology, assessment, and feedback are all very different. Lectures that I've honed over the past six years had to be completely reworked, and the time commitment is intense. Recording videos (and all that's involved with uploading them) takes 3x longer than just lecturing. Trying to provide individual feedback on all practice work is nearly impossible. Where I used to do things en masse at a glance, I now spend hours. There's also a disconnect between my students and myself since we're not together. Building an open and welcoming classroom environment has been difficult without the near-daily interaction with my kids. I have always been extremely proud of my classroom environment as a place my kids have wanted to be, and it's been mentally draining for me to not have that. I feel like my main duty to my students has shifted to a better balance of academic and social-emotional. My students are also surviving a pandemic and a little bit of learning loss is worth them staying healthy.
What’s the biggest lesson/s you’ve learned during this time period?
2020 has been a struggle, as it has for many people. I've learned to adapt and that it's ok to not be ok all the time. Professionally, I've learned to better prioritize what needs to be done without sacrificing every night and weekend and missing out on time with my family. As a community, we need to value collectivism and work together to ensure as many people can thrive as possible. It's a complete cliché, but navigating the pandemic with our two-year-old son has really forced my husband and me to be fully present in the moment, and not worry too far into the future.