Getting the content

Science teacher records class sessions to help her students


Photo by Quinn Martin

Helping out a student, science teacher Heather Mueller speaks with Sophie Reavis during her excel period on Feb. 4.

The week after winter break, Mori Rothhorn (12) was afraid to come back to school. She was exposed to COVID-19 through friends and decided to stay home to wait for her rapid test results. After testing negative, Rothhorn still took extra precautions to protect her friend who was at high risk and quarantined away from family and friends for four days. 

During her quarantine, Rothhorn said she began to fall behind in almost every class she was in. That is, except her AP Biology class, taught by Heather Mueller.

At the beginning of the school year, Mueller started to record her class sessions to help out those who needed further time or weren’t in class because of COVID-19 or other reasons. 

“I give students the opportunity to re-listen to the class, just in case they need more time,” Mueller said. “It gives the students who need a chance to take more time to learn and to be able to get the content that the teacher delivers.”

Mueller posted the recordings on Google Classroom for the students who wanted to be able to catch up and not fall behind. When Constance Chen (12) was out with COVID-19 the week after winter break, she attended Mueller’s Google Meets and found them very helpful. 

“So when I got back to school I felt like I didn’t miss out on a lot of the assignments,” Chen said.

According to Rothhorn, the recordings were helpful even when she wasn’t quarantining. 

“They are great when I forget the instructions for an assignment,” Rothhorn said. “It’s also helpful whenever I have trouble understanding the concept.”

Being online made it hard for some students to focus, and teachers had to screen record their classes to post on Google Classroom last year, which seemed to help a lot of students. Mueller wanted to recreate that experience, but in person.

“It reminds me of a little bit about when we had to teach online and it was hard for students to focus and engage in the class,” Mueller said. “Then I thought to myself that if it’s hard for these students to listen in class why don’t I just give them another option to be able to be a part of class if they need it like we did when we were online.” 

Mueller noticed that not everyone was able to pay attention and learn in her classes, so making the Meets helped them review material.

“Not everyone is able to pay attention and learn in one class period,” Mueller said. “So I just thought about how I could help these students when they need it.”

The class recordings seem to help a lot of people who struggle focusing or are missing school. 

“I found the recordings very useful,” Rothhorn said. “And It makes me happy that she wants to help out other students too. I am really grateful she does it.”

Mueller did a reflection for her first semester asking her students different kinds of questions like one being “when you’re stuck on homework, where do you usually turn?” 

The results said 37 percent of Mueller’s students went back to class videos as a resource when they were stuck with homework. The number one source in that same survey showed that nearly 70 percent of students turned to their friends as their first resource. 

“Class videos came in fourth place out of seven for the options, so it doesn’t look like a great resource in terms of when students use it,” Mueller said. “But it really does help some students who need it.”

The students that turn to the class videos as a resource seem to help them a lot.

According to Rothhorn, Mueller is doing a great job at helping students catch up on their work if they didn’t attend the class period. 

“I think she is doing the most out of all my teachers to be supportive with people with COVID,” Rothhorn said.

According to Mueller, it’s important for students to get the chance to re-listen to the class so they don’t miss out on anything even if they were present. 

“We’re all human beings, we bring a lot of things to school, meaning something could have happened with a student’s family or something happened with their friends, which is why it’s hard for a student to focus for 57 minutes straight.”

At the end of the year, Mueller plans to do another reflection, asking her students if her recordings are valuable to them.    

“Everyone loses their focus at some point,” Mueller said. “So why not record the class sessions to help out those students who need it.”