by Piper Kingfirstname.lastname@example.org
With online school heading into its fourth week, most teachers have found it just as, if not more challenging, as students have. According to a recent survey, 75% of PC teachers rated their experience transitioning to online classes as challenging or very challenging. “It is a very time-consuming process to change activities or make new interactive ones that will work in the new format and time frame,” stated one teacher.
Adapting to new technology also played a role in the transition. “There was so much new software to learn–Zoom, Screencastify, Flipgrid. And then figuring out how those things interacted with my internet–what was doable and what was not,” said another.
Throughout the online-teaching journey, many teachers have experienced a few bumps along the way. “It’s a challenge to figure out how to adapt every lesson to online learning. Group work doesn’t work very well with distance learning, and I do a lot of group work. So figuring out how to change every lesson to something that would work online is an ongoing challenge,” said one teacher.
Other teachers have been challenged with their new learning environments. “My office smells like diapers, and I sit on the ground with a piano bench as a desk,” one teacher admitted.
Although online teaching is a struggle for some, teachers were able to find some positive aspects to it. “I like ‘hearing’ students and their voices every day through their reading their assignment answers, seeing their creativity with their assignments–I love the extra comments they sometimes write–and saving gas and miles on my car,” stated one teacher.
Casual dress is another perk. “(One advantage to online teaching is) not having to dress up. I haven’t worn dress pants since March 12,” said another teacher.
Teachers are missing on-campus classes, however. Most of the teachers miss seeing their students in person every day instead of in an online setting. “I miss talking with the students and seeing their faces. I miss the day’s structure,” one teacher commented.
Other teachers miss talking to their peers. “I miss the banter among teachers at lunch – and I miss Bonnie’s lunches,” said another.
And some are missing a little bit of everything: “I miss the bodies in the building! I miss my fellow teachers and just having people around–hearing students laugh and chatter, conversing with others.”
Online teaching has affected more than just lesson plans and teaching format. It has also had an effect on teachers’ home lives. “My wife and I are both teachers living in a small apartment. It gets tricky when we both need to record lessons or Zoom call because we don’t have many quiet places,” said one teacher.
With grade schools being out as well, some teachers have little ones at home to take care of during regular school hours. “My little monkeys eat all the good food, and we completed every board game, puzzle and conceivable indoor entertainment possible by the end of spring break so…we’re ready to get out of here,” one teacher noted.
As off-campus classes continue, teachers do have a few tips for their students. “Make a schedule, do your best to stick to it, and stay on top of work with lots of extra grace! But also take time to step away from your school and schedule and go outside and enjoy God’s creation,” stated one teacher.
Another stressed the importance of asking questions. “Communicate with your teachers. If something isn’t working, tell them. If something isn’t clear, ask. If you need help, ask. Check, read, and respond to emails,” said another.
One teacher noted that everyone just needs to accept the current state of affairs: “The whole nation is in the same situation as we are. Everyone is facing these challenges, and everyone will miss out on the same things. We just have to do what we have to do!”