PHOTO: English teacher Christine Baker enjoys interacting and teaching her students in-person, but her technology skills have greatly helped other teachers during distance learning.
By Ayisi Ni,
Although distance learning has taken away the interactive teaching environment where Davis High English teacher Christine Baker thrives, she has been a source of knowledge about new online teaching technology for many of her co-workers.
Before working at DHS, Baker taught at Sacramento New Technology High School for 15 years. There, she experimented with technologically innovative ways of teaching, uncommon to most American public schools at the time. She left that school two years ago and came to DHS.
Baker has really enjoyed working on a larger campus here. She asks for feedback often in this online learning environment and tries to interact with her students at every opportunity.
“I know that the rest of the world is scared of teenagers. I don’t have that. I really like teenagers, I love working with them,” Baker said. During office hours, she often asks for students to tell her one thing she is good at and one thing that she could improve at.
Baker got off to a rocky start this year with Canvas. Despite it being the new learning management system, Baker only got access to Canvas a short while before school started. However, she has already become proficient with the technology.
Baker recalled helping English teacher Spencer Elliott with using Google in Canvas. When Elliott spoke up at a staff meeting, Baker offered to make him a short video on the topic that demonstrates exactly what to do and make it specific to the DHS Canvas.
So many teachers were experiencing difficulties that the entire English department requested Baker share that video with them.
Within DHS and especially the English department, Baker has become so well-known for her instructional Canvas videos that she received an email from fellow English teacher Gwyneth Bruch calling her a literal “goddess” of Canvas.
Baker shares many similarities with her friend and colleague Eileen Guerard, as both have ties to Napa Valley and worked in tech schools before coming to Davis. Both teachers also both participated in group video chats just before school started to talk about their problems with Canvas. Guerard said it was Baker who promoted solutions to problems.
“Christine is always willing to try new things and to share her results with others,” Guerard said.