In recent weeks, Sage Forum representatives interviewed people in our community to get their take on life while in quarantine and their thoughts on virtual learning.
Mr. Tyler Tolisano is an Upper School math teacher and this is his first year at The Sage School. This week, we discovered some of his interesting thoughts about social distancing, teaching philosophies, and more.
Sage Forum: What has been your most valuable takeaway since going virtual at Sage?
Mr. Tolisano: My most valuable takeaway would be how much of a community Sage is. I knew we were a close-knit cohort of individuals and families, but the way our school was able to adapt, redesign, and then implement an entirely unprecedented platform was so impressive. We banded together in such a short amount of time to create something incredibly effective, and that has been such a valuable, insightful takeaway for me.
Sage Forum: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing when teaching virtually?
Mr. Tolisano: Lack of connection is the hardest thing for me in this virtual teaching. There is limited time to catch up with students personally, or just to say hi to a student I don’t teach in the hall and catch up with them. I also feel for the eighth graders who are struggling in these challenging times.
Sage Forum: What do you like most about virtual school?
Mr. Tolisano: Honestly, I like having to walk across the room to plan and teach. It is so much more comfortable and efficient to teach from home. This being said, I cannot wait to be back in the physical presence of so many amazing students and faculty.
Sage Forum: What do you miss the most about not being in school?
Mr. Tolisano: Human connection is so powerful, and that has been the most challenging thing for me in this quarantine. I am such a social person, and being in the presence of others is something I will never take for granted again.
Sage Forum: What is your favorite project you are having students do now?
Mr. Tolisano: The project I discussed above for Algebra 1 would have to be my favorite. Students have to find where parabolas arise in the real world, or what actions create parabolas, and then perform the act and analyze the parabola they create. Based on students’ feedback, I am going to be implementing more dance/movement and music examples into this project in the future.
Sage Forum: How has virtual learning affected your teaching philosophy?
Mr. Tolisano: I have always had a student-first, application-based teaching philosophy, so this has not changed the way I view teaching that much. If anything, I have the leeway to implement more student-driven projects with a focus on individual interest and the arts. I rolled out a project with 7/8 grade with limited instruction, and now I am excited to tweak it to add more student-choice and creativity for the next group of students.
Interview conducted by Emily S., Grade 8.