Student teacher learns lessons from COVID

Taylor Willmarth and Justin Bollich

Cydney Finberg-Roberts graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 2017 with a plan to become an educator. She moved to Great Falls to attend the University of Providence. Now, she is a student teacher at CMR with long-time educator Paula Olsen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher because I love working with kids and helping people, and I also love sports,” she said. “COVID has definitely impacted my student teaching experience.Not only do I have to worry about teaching and lessons, but I have to remind people about masks and [make sure that students] are socially distanced.”

Finberg-Roberts said that while teaching during the pandemic is difficult, it has helped prepare her for the unscripted moments of her teaching future. 

“It added another level of classroom management that I was not prepared for,” she said. 

Finberg-Roberts said that her mother and sister are teachers, and her dad went to school to be a teacher, so the education field was a natural fit. She said that she chose health and physical education because she has always enjoyed sports.

“I know that I want to be around sports everyday so that led me to where I am,” she said.

The future teacher is also interested in coaching multiple sports as soon as possible. 

“My dad is a basketball coach, and I have already been volunteering for CMR volleyball,” she said.

Finberg-Roberts noted that the global pandemic has had a negative impact on the court this season.

“The team dynamic is not as together and united as before,” she said. “I think everyone plays with a fear whether they are going to get shut down or not.”

She said keeping team spirit high is the biggest challenge she’s encountered on the court. The cheerleaders are allowed to attend games and sit socially distanced, but the pep band isn’t allowed to come and audiences are limited. 

“You’re used to hearing noise and cheers for your team, and so when it’s quiet, it’s a lot harder,” she said. “I think it’s been a good challenge and when it’s all done, teaching will be a lot easier.”