Colin Levi
Colin Levi

Teaching and Learning in a Pandemic

Colin  Levi

Class of 2020 • Annapolis, Maryland
In his final semester of college, Colin Levi ’20 is student-teaching high school Spanish courses.


Colin Levi thought he would spend his final semester student-teaching in a high school classroom. The pandemic changed all that. When Queen Anne’s County High School moved its coursework online this fall, Colin and his teacher-mentor, Erica Schauber, quickly pivoted to adapt their Spanish language curriculum to the virtual environment of Schoology and Google Drive.

The experience has been an interesting case study, informing his Senior Capstone project for his major in Communication & Media Studies. Colin set out to examine how English language learners use technology in the classroom, and the impact of technology on language acquisition and sense of identity.

“I thought I would see students become really dependent on technology, with teachers using it as a replacement, not a supplement to classroom learning,” Colin says. “But now I’m seeing unequal distribution of power because of the unequal distribution of technology. We as educators need to use technology to enhance the language experience, but when the classroom is all virtual and there is a language barrier, the dependence on technology becomes a deterrent.”

School administrators are now considering how to accommodate those students with limited access to the internet, and to help non-native English language learners overcome what could be a year’s loss of learning.

“When this started happening, the response from my professors [Erin Counihan and Bridget Bunten in the Department of Education] was to see it as an opportunity to approach equity and equality through a virtual lens. ‘Here’s how to teach virtually as best as you can.’”

Colin is also grateful for the clear guidance he received

“I always knew what the expectations were,” he says. “Professor Counihand told me: ‘Here’s what the State of Maryland requires. This is what we require. We know this is weird and unexpected, but we will do everything we can to make sure you get certified.’”

Colin's Four Year Plan

Year 1

Favorite ClassHispanic Studies 301

"I tested into the 300-level of Spanish, and my first Spanish class at Washington College really got me excited about the prospect of majoring in Hispanic Studies."

Year 2

Finding His CallingBorn to Teach

"I’ve had a lot of great teachers in my life—my grandmom and my aunt were both teachers—and I like the idea of being a guiding force in the classroom, especially for middle-schoolers They are trying to figure out who they are and they are so passionate about what they do. I have an 11-year-old sister, so I admit I’m a bit of a caretaker."

Year 3

Best DecisionAdding a Major in CMS

"The new Communication & Media Studies program is daunting in some regards because we’re still getting off the ground. What I really like about it is that it feels intersectional—I’m able to see those deep connections to coursework in education theory or Spanish seminars.  And Professor Kozma is awesome.  She takes care of her comm majors."

Year 4

Career PrepStudent Teaching

Under the mentorship of Queen Anne’s County High School teacher Erica Schauber, Colin spent some time observing her classroom last year, in anticipation of student-teaching this fall. Now in coronavirus lockdown, Colin and his students are working together remotely.