Teachers Adapt to the New 20-21 School Year, Remotely

Covid-19 has had a drastic impact on the United States. The politicians in this nation have had to adapt to this new environment. Some more successfully than in other states.  Here in Illinois, the governor has taken measures to attempt to decrease COVID cases, one of those measures is to resume the school year in a new fashion, remote calls.  While this is one of the best options to prevent more cases to rise, as opposed to how Georgia seemed to ‘handled’ it,  Zoom calls have definitely had their flaws. 

  From a student’s perspective, this whole experience has both its positives and negatives. Rather than focusing on all eight classes, students here in AT get to focus on four classes a day. Providing more time needed with a class in case a student is having a hard time with one.  The online schedule also grants students a free period in the mornings, either allowing more sleep time or a free work period. 

Although those may seem good, there also has been some difficulty with Zoom.  There have been issues with connectivity both technical and personal within these Zoom calls.

Senior Student, Andrea Acosta has expressed her thought on online learning, ¨A couple of problems I’ve faced during e-learning are the usual poor connectivity problems, my mic going out, I’ve even had to leave class at some point because a fire broke out in my apartment! E-learning can difficult because it is a lot harder to focus and retain information when you’re sitting in the same spot for 80 minutes every day¨. If that is not enough difficulty, there is also a universal issue of distractions from home, whether be it siblings or simply loud noises.

While the students have expressed their perspective on the new school year, there is another group that needs to express their opinions on zoom calls, none other than the teachers. These Zoom calls have given teachers all different experiences. For some classes, it does not change much on how it is run other than the students not really being there. But on the other hand, there are classes that require hands-on learning that really gets impacted by online learning.  Those classes could be Music, Science, Autos and any other class.

For example,  Band Director Mark Corey has expressed that because of these zoom calls it is hard for him to tell what needs to be done because in years prior to this year, there would be formative assessments in music. He would know what needs to be done and who needs help. Unfortunately, he cannot have 60 students all playing in a zoom call.  In these calls, Mr. Corey has stated  “What we’re missing in the learning experience,  especially in music is the sense of ensemble and collaboration”. 

Even a student of Corey´s Wind Ensemble, Andrea Acosta stated that ¨Part of what makes music so great is that we were always able to play together and have fun in class, and we can’t really do that from home¨. Those statements can apply to other classes because online classes seem to have a lack of union.

  In a whole different subject, Chemistry teacher Steven Nelson has also expressed his opinion on online learning. Zoom calls have impacted the way he teaches. The students he teaches do not have access to lab equipment and many chemicals and this is important because as Mr. Nelson stated “I can show a video of a demonstration or an explosion, but it’s not the same thing as hearing it, experiencing it, in person.”  Mr. Nelson prefers it to be so much better to have his students get to do that themselves.

But due to COVID, it has changed all that experience along with a connection with his students. Mr. Nelson, like Corey, agrees that it is hard to make a connection with students through a small screen. There are so many issues that go wrong with zoom. It is hard to teach students if a student’s internet goes out because that would mean they would miss out on learning. It also does not help if a teacher’s internet goes out. 

But believe it or not, there are some benefits to zoom class. For starters, students and staff will not expose themselves to COVID. That is a major benefit. But, also instead of giving paper assignments that could be lost, teachers have an easier way to post assignments. Plus, at least the teachers could also have the opportunity to see their students unlike in Spring, where assignments were assigned and that would be it for the day.

All in all, Zoom definitely has its issues; it is currently the best plan for schools.  COVID has required people to make sacrifices so if schools have to abandon traditional learning for the safety of their students, then that would be a sacrifice that is greatly appreciated.

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Anthony Perez is a First-Timer Senior in the AT Torch Staff. He chose to take part in the Torch to improve as a writer and to get out of his comfort zone. He decided that was the best choice as he loves the work because he views it as challenging yet fun.