WINFIELD — “What does Mr. Sheyko look like?”
It’s a question Matthew Sheyko, a first-year middle school social science teacher at the Winfield-Mt. Union Community School District, never thought he’d hear students ask when he decided to begin a career in education.
“About two weeks in, students started asking … they had only seen me with a mask on, so we had kind of a Mr. Sheyko face reveal,” the teacher said.
“It’s allowed for some weird but interesting opportunities,” he said of how the pandemic has impacted his classroom.
Sheyko, who graduated from Iowa State University in December 2019, said he was determined to be in a classroom for the 2020-2021 school year.
“I decided I really wanted to teach and the pandemic didn’t really affect my decision too much,” he said.
While leading a class for the first time during a pandemic has lead to “some higher stress,” as a first-year teacher, Sheyko said he also “doesn’t know any different.”
Now more than two months into the school year, Sheyko said he’s had to learn how to adapt lesson plans to be social-distance friendly and learn to juggle a classroom and students who are home due to quarantine and other COVID-related situations.
“I’m sending stuff home and have had to modify some things, tried to provide step-by-step instructions because it might be tough to do on their own at home,” he said.
Helping students catch up after an extended absence also requires more time as well.
Still, Sheyko said he feels the extra effort is well worth the in-person interaction he can provide to students.
“What I’ve come away with is that even though there are some earth-shattering things happening across the country, we can keep moving forward and still provide opportunities for education despite what is going on,” he said.
– Ashley Duong
“They had only seen me with a mask on, so we had kind of a Mr. Sheyko face reveal.”
Matthew Sheyko, middle school social studies teacher