Virtual learning prompts different school day routines


PHOTO COURTESY OF Katherine Rodriguez

WORKING FROM HOME: Geometry teacher Katherine Rodriguez shows how she teaches from home with her work space setup complete with everything she needs for her students. Rodriguez has been using the same material and methods to teach this year, but has had to adjust to working from home.

Grace Harris, Reporter

With the sudden changes brought about by the global pandemic, students struggle with learning online. However, when faced with completely readjusting their way of educating their students, teachers experience the new challenge as well.

Although often forgotten, teachers deal with similar challenges as students in the face of online learning. Geometry teacher Katherine Rodriguez explains the major differences in her class this year.

“One of the major differences this year is that I don’t have as many student presentations happening,” Rodriguez said.

Hosting classes on the Zoom platform zoom, limits the options teachers have when attempting to collaboratively engage students.

“I love when students are teaching other students, but it has been a little more difficult to foster that collaboration over Zoom. I think we are getting better at it though, ” Rodriguez said.

The pandemic’s unfortunate circumstances have however given some a new, positive perspective.

“I have learned to appreciate teaching on a whole new level,” Rodriguez said. “I love my job, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss teaching in person so much and forming connections with my students.”

Teachers experience virtual learning alongside their students, sophomore Shelly Kleinerman advocates for students during this tough time having to be at home.

“I think students have it harder during the pandemic because we have to adjust to new topics, new learning methods, and environment,” Kleinerman said. “Teachers are still teaching the same topics and only have to adapt to a new teaching method.”

However, sophomore Sami Sagebiel disagrees and empathizes with teachers during the pandemic.

“Teachers have to work twice as hard to communicate with their students on what to get done, as well as how to do assignments,” Sagebeil said. “Along with the fact that they have to teach the material to a bunch of black screens all day.”

It is obvious that the drastic changes brought by COVID-19 influence students’ relationships with their teachers Sophomore Carter White explains the differences in his communication with teachers in comparison to the previous school year.

“I like to develop an even ground with my teachers as if they’re a friend who’s helping me and my peers learn new things,” White said. “Due to remote learning though, I don’t really have the opportunity to talk and learn more about my teachers because of our confinement into a chatroom.”

Sagebiel had a similar experience when building relationships with her advisors.

“I feel I’m not as close with my teachers this year. I think by this time last year I was joking around with the teachers constantly… but now I feel like that’d just be weird,” Sagebiel said.

Virtually learning and teaching over Zoom minimizes the important interaction teachers have with their students as well. Rodriguez shares what she’s learned and faced in building relationships this year with everything being virtual.

“I miss all the small conversations that happen in the classroom,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like it has taken longer to get to know my students this year than it has in the past.”

In addition to a lesser personal connection to teachers, students and teachers can only communicate virtually, yet another unideal aspect of virtual learning.

“I have to write an email and wait to hear back instead of having live and in-person answers to my questions, which isn’t ideal and less beneficial,” White said.

Despite the lack of a close bond with his teachers, White appreciates the teachers’ quick adjustment to online instructing.

“I think teachers have adapted extremely well to these circumstances,” White said. “I would expect it would take them a while to adjust to online attendance and assignments, but they have handled it very well.”

Students agree that teachers are adapting well to the circumstances and appreciate their dedication to try and keep teaching as normal as possible.

“Teachers are working to accommodate students, but they are also giving a lot of work that is hard to keep up with,” Kleinerman said.

COVID-19 has caused difficulties to arise in everyone’s lives, however, being back in the classroom, teaching virtually or not, has benefited teachers and helped keep positive mentalities.

“I am so happy to be back with students, and, honestly, teaching is definitely one of the things keeping me positive during COVID-19,” Rodriguez said.