The past school year has been a learning curve for students, teachers and all others involved in the education system.
David Garo, college specialist for the Wonderful College Prep Academy with Cal State Bakersfield, has experienced this learning curve first hand. He is in charge of helping Wonderful scholars that attend CSUB. Scholars often need tutoring, and he is there to do his best to help any way he can.
When Garo first heard the news about transitioning into virtual teaching at the end of the semester, he thought about how teaching was going to affect students mentally and their way of learning.
“As a mathematician and economist, I was worried because those subjects are easier to be understood and taught in person,” said Garo. “ It would also affect our mentality because being at home will have more responsibilities.”.
Since March 2020, there has been a fast transition into virtual learning. It was a rocky start, — lots of scrambling and just not being prepared to say the least, according to Garo.
“It was hard for students to get answers from professors because they wouldn’t get a response when needed,” said Garo.
Luckily Garo was tech savvy. He was confident working with technology, although he knew not all professors and college specialists could say the same. Even though he has always been up to date with technology, there were some learning curves he had to adapt to. Garo came across
new programs to make virtual learning easier.
“Since scholars live in different cities, it has been easier to set up meetings and meet through zoom,” said Garo.
No one has the same schedule, and it would be very hard to gather a meeting in person,” he said. “With everyone being home it was easier to communicate. Before there were mostly calls instead of Zoom meetings where it is better to interact.”
For example, on Zoom you are able to share screens and follow along with the teaching. The study sessions were more engaging with him and students with this program.
Garo manages and creates group meetings as well, so the scholars can work together and have assignments done correctly.
Techniques that Garo gained throughout this experience were to learn to always be willing to adapt, be empathetic, and everyone has a different story. Since Garo is also from the small town of Delano, he knows everyone has different responsibilities and to always be understanding.
Garo said, “I am about giving scholars options and not telling them what to do. It is very important to be open minded with virtual learning.”