We’d like to introduce you to Molly Koltys, a current Bank Street graduate student in our Early Childhood General and Special Education Program. Molly began her Bank Street journey in January 2020 after deciding to change her career path from management to education. Just two-and-a-half months later, in mid-March, graduate classes at Bank Street transitioned to online learning when the nation started taking measures to control the global pandemic.
In Learning in Lockdown, Molly shares her experiences with you. We hope you enjoy reading her interview.
What was it like transitioning to online learning at Bank Street? Honestly, I was blown away by how smooth the transition was! As a former manager, I was ready for chaos… but the College and professors stayed in close contact with us while everything got sorted. Since we already used the online platform (Canvas) in our classes, the only thing to get used to at first was meeting on Zoom. Obviously, we all had a lot of emotions during that time, and I felt like my professors understood that, which definitely helped with processing the situation.
What classes have you taken through the pandemic? I was in Science for Teachers, Foundations for Modern Education, and Language Acquisition when we made the transition to remote learning. Science for Teachers was interesting because it was a very hands-on class, but we adapted and still had meaningful discussions and projects to do while at home. During Summer 1, I took a prerequisite math course, and now in the fall, I’m taking Child Development and Mathematics for Teachers (also online).
What if you’re not super comfortable with the online platform or technology in general—are there resources available to help? Absolutely! There are multiple resources you can utilize, like instructional videos along with written step-by-step instructions. The library also has endless resources and helpful people who can point you in the right direction. One of the best resources will also be the people in your classes; there’s always someone willing to lend a hand and share their tips and tricks!
Are you doing fieldwork? I haven’t started my fieldwork yet, that will most likely be Fall 2021. With email and Zoom, I stay in contact with my advisor to plan out the semesters ahead, so I’m happy going virtual didn’t affect my timeline to graduation. (I expect to graduate in spring 2022-ish).
What techniques do you utilize to manage your time and organize your schoolwork in order to juggle everything during remote learning?
I think having a system that makes sense to you is key. For me, it’s lots of calendars and checklists, making sure I can map out how to accomplish everything I need to. I also tend to break things down into small parts, getting things done bit by bit so I don’t get overwhelmed. This system will definitely not work for everyone! My version of organization might look like nonsense to someone else, so you have to figure out what works best for you specifically. Once you construct your system, you have a reliable way to manage your time and efforts.
Do you still feel part of the Bank Street community even though the Graduate School is remote? Yes. It’s different of course, but the faculty put a lot of effort into making sure we still had chances to stay connected. For example, in the virtual new student orientation, we got to meet others in our program and had multiple chances and ways to interact with each other. Seeing familiar faces on the first day of a virtual class makes it feel a lot less intimidating! The community here at Bank Street is one of the most supportive that I’ve ever been a part of, so there’s always someone to reach out to.
Do you feel like there was any change to the quality of your education at Bank Street after going remote? No. I think, if anything, the faculty doubled their already huge efforts. The professors are making sure we remain engaged—adapting their plans and lessons in real-time so that we can learn from each other and process what being an educator during a pandemic is and will be. The fact that they’ve been so sensitive to all these rapid changes shows their commitment to holistic education. As a career changer, it’s hard not to worry about the choices I made, but this experience makes me certain that Bank Street was absolutely the right decision for me.
Molly has kindly offered to answer any student-related questions you might have. She can be reached at email@example.com.