Baker, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in education through Oregon State’s double-degree program, is from Kotzebue, a town of 3,200 people known as the gateway to the Arctic. She had planned to be in Corvallis this fall, but as public health conditions worsened, Baker and her advisors concluded she would be better off completing her student teaching at the elementary school in her hometown, where there was some hope of teaching in person.
Weber, a native of Vale, Oregon, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Oregon State in June and immediately started the master’s program to become a middle/high school math teacher. Just days before she was supposed to begin student teaching, Weber’s placement in Salem fell through. Her scramble to find a new placement led her to Kotzebue, where a family friend knew of an opening teaching math at the high school on the same campus where Baker is student teaching.
Baker and Weber had never met while they were both on campus in Corvallis. They connected not long after Weber’s arrival in Kotzebue and have since bonded over their shared experience learning how to teach — mostly remotely via video and online — during a pandemic.
“Honestly, what are the odds? Two Beavers student teaching in my little town,” Baker says. “It has been fun getting to know Kelsy through these strange circumstances.”
Both Baker and Weber said their experiences during their education at Oregon State have helped them persevere on the path to becoming teachers.
“It’s a little bit sink-or-swim in this situation with the pandemic, and we’re just trying to do our best to be flexible and adapt,” Weber says. “It’s nice to have someone to have that experience in common with.”
Especially when you’re 2,107 miles from OSU’s Corvallis campus.