Ms. Tomlin’s Take on Remote Learning


Megan Tomlin, with permission

Ms. Megan Tomlin in her English classroom at Abington High School on March 9, 2021. Tomlin stands in front of a photo of Charles M. Frolio, whose name was on the former middle school in town. Tomlin, and AHS alumna, also taught at and attended the Frolio Middle School.

Ms. Megan Tomlin, who joined Abington High School’s English Language Arts department as a full-time teacher last May when long-time English teacher Andrea Clifford retired from high school teaching, weighed in on teaching during a pandemic.

Pullquote Photo

When you are the teacher, you might not be talking the entire session, but you are the facilitator of all your meetings all day long.

— Ms. Megan Tomlin

Tomlin, who teaches juniors and seniors at the high school, formerly taught at the Abington Middle School. When the position opened at the high school she said, “The opportunity to teach the seniors who were my first ever class when they were in 7th grade was something I couldn’t pass up.”

Starting the year with a hybrid model and seeing the students only once per week posed a challenge. Tomlin said, “I was planning for essentially three different lessons per week, per class. I had to plan remote work for students, in class work for Green students and in class work for Wave students.” 

Tomlin said that having the students in front of her “makes it easier to form bonds with students.” She said, “The student-teacher relationship is such a big part of what we do.”

Being face to face is a way to check in with students. “Those casual conversations in the hallways, the funny moments during transitions of class activities, and noticing if someone is having a bad day and might need our help are all very important aspects of being a teacher.” Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is “incredibly important right now,” Tomlin said.  

Which model do you prefer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Learning and teaching behind a screen has challenges for students and teachers. Tomlin said that teachers can also struggle with an extended amount of screen time. “When you are the teacher, you might not be talking the entire session, but you are the facilitator of all your meetings all day long. Without passing time, it makes it hard to recharge in between each of the four 85 minute courses back to back,” she said.

“Although teaching and learning behind a screen can be negative, Tomlin said, “Some of the best, most interactive class sessions I had this year prior to the synchronous learning model were during our remote learning.” She said that after talking to her students about it, “it seems like they got so much more out of it as well.”

Overall, there have been positives and negatives to online teaching. Tomlin said she has had “a wonderful network of supportive colleagues, administrators, and mentors at AHS.”

It is important to realize what the school community has accomplished this year. Although the emphasis has been on students adapting to this new era of learning, it is important to remember that teachers are under just as much pressure.