Mrs. Audra Swenson: Special Education English


   While this is not her first year of teaching, Mrs. Audra Swenson is a welcome addition to the Guilford team. She has worked as a teacher for many years and has found acceptance here. She is a Special Education English teacher in the Freshman Academy.

   “I have taught in several different districts, and the one thing I have realized regardless of where I have taught is that my biggest impact with students comes from connecting at a personal level,” said Mrs. Swenson. “One thing I have noticed here at Guilford is that between classes, staff members leave their offices to make these positive connections with students during hallway passing time.”

   Mrs. Swenson has a strong aptitude for teaching and this is something that she has wanted to do for a long time. Having someone as passionate about teaching as her is a positive thing for the school. 

   “I knew that I always wanted to work with kids, so becoming a teacher seemed like the perfect fit,” said Mrs. Swenson.

   She came here because she needed a change of pace and scenery. 

   “I was looking for a change, and people I respected had shared positive comments with me regarding the administration, staff, and students here at Guilford,” said Mrs. Swenson.

   Many teachers are having difficulty navigating through this year with COVID. Mrs. Swenson is no exception to this.

   “It has been challenging to foster relationships with all our remote learners,” said Mrs. Swenson. “It is easy for some remote learners to disengage and find other tasks they would rather do than engaging in dialogue while attending a Google Meets session. Also, since COVID-19 restrictions are in place, staff meetings are limited to Zoom meetings. Since we are not able to meet face-to-face, it makes it more challenging to get to know each other.”

   Not seeing the remote students also plagues the students’ performance in the class, which is another one of Mrs. Swenson’s difficulties this year.

   “The biggest struggle has been working to get our remote learners engaged,” said Mrs. Swenson. “Overall, the remote learners have had higher absenteeism and less student work completion than those students attending in-person.”

   One of the many struggles and pleasures of teaching is wanting your students to succeed, to the point where it is hard to find that balance between work and your own life.

   “For me, I struggle with disconnecting after the workday is done,” said Mrs. Swenson. “I know how important it is to have a work-life balance, and at times I struggle to find that balance.”

   Being a new teacher in a new building can always be difficult. That being said, Mrs. Swenson has had an easy time adapting to the new surroundings.

   “Staff members that I have met have been very welcoming, helpful, and supportive,” said Mrs. Swenson. “Also, the connections I have been able to make with students give me energy and encouragement to keep pushing ahead during this year where COVID-19 is ever present.”