TAMPA, Fla. — Dr. Rebecca Ditwiler knew the transition to online learning in March would be a challenge. It wasn’t the technology she worried about, but rather how she would teach her students studying physical therapy the hands on skills they need to graduate. 

“I spent a lot of time thinking about the ways that we could replicate the skills that we normally get in the class,” said Dr. Ditwiler, an assistant professor at USF Health School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services.

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Taylor Berlin nominated Dr. Ditwiler to be Spectrum Bay News 9’s A+ Teacher of the week. She said during the months of online learning, Dr. Ditwiler took the time to speak one-on-one with her students, checking in to make sure everyone was learning the material. 

“It seemed like she was so dedicated. She always is but she went that extra mile for us,” said Berlin.

“All a teacher ever wants to do is make an impact on someone’s life and to think that I did that makes me really happy,” said Dr. Ditwiler. 

Dr. Ditwiler created videos to show her students how to treat patients. She used her mom, who is also a physical therapist, to demonstrate certain movements.

Berlin says beyond that, Dr. Ditwiler would adjust the curriculum based on the student’s needs. 

“One of the hardest things about virtual learning is feeling like you’re totally alone and feeling very distanced from your professors. So I tried to make myself a constant contact for them,” said Dr. Ditwiler.

Dr. Ditwiler says while she enjoyed certain aspects of teaching online, she missed the personal interaction with her students in the classroom. She’s looking forward to teaching in person again soon and she’s excited to see how her students will succeed in the future. 

“I look forward to seeing who they become and how they grow in this program, and what they have to contribute to the profession of physical therapy,” said Dr. Ditwiler.

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