by Peter Ly ’23
The Bell Online recently had an interview with Ms. Shapiro to ask her about how Bellarmine has changed throughout her over 35 years of working here.
To start, she believes that Bellarmine greatly differs from how it was back then to how it is now. She thinks now is a different time, and Bellarmine seems faster in some ways. When she first started teaching at Bellarmine, there were just six periods, and when we now have eight total periods in a cycle, we find that there are more requirements for Bellarmine students now. Additionally, the number of students on campus has greatly increased, and with it, the number of faculty on campus has expanded too.
For those who don’t know, about ten years ago, Bellarmine went under major renovation to build the newer buildings on campus such as Lokey. What that resulted in was teachers would have to teach in tents in the quad, and when I asked Mrs. Shapiro what it was like during that time, she said that it was a bit messier, but it did not impact her at all because she was in O’Donnell.
She especially enjoys Bellarmine because she’s always surprised by how much fun it is at Bellarmine. She enjoys the great community that is present on campus, and she compares it to being at a camp every day. Her favorite memories of Bellarmine come from the immersion trips and the ability to create interpersonal relationships with the people you meet on them.
For Mrs. Shapiro, with the greater use of technology, she finds that it has actually made Bellarmine worse because the disadvantages of using that technology do not outweigh the advantages. She thinks that technology has made things more work. She specifically cites Canvas quizzes and how you have to enter in every possible answer for free response, to ensure that Lockdown Browser will work correctly, and to worry about what to do if the quiz doesn’t work as planned. It just causes more stress and there is a greater chance of making mistakes on online quizzes, and it’d often times be more efficient to just grade on paper. She also thinks that when technology fails to work, it just snowballs into making the class get further behind on schedule and hurt the classroom experience. But, she sees the advantages of having review games on Surfaces, but in general, she doesn’t think that the technology helps students learn more.
When I asked her how she thinks COVID still impacts learning, she first points out that she still has her students wear masks. That hurts the ability to connect with her students and makes it harder to ensure that her students are making the correct Spanish sounds. Moreover, there are a few more behavior and study habit issues for students who came in just from online school directly to Bellarmine, but overall, the issues have begun to stop. She thinks the most frustrating part of teaching online was learning how to use the technology and how frustrating it was to learn how to use Teams.
She loves teaching Spanish at Bellarmine because she enjoys the subject and she enjoys interacting with the students who are always fun to work with.
A big thank you to Ms. Shapiro for letting us interview her to have her reflect on her experiences at Bellarmine.