A mixed experience

SHS teachers have noticed some positives and negatives to teaching fully online


Contributed by Daniel Jones

Social studies teacher Daniel Jones teaches class virtually. He has experienced good and bad things while having to teach this way.

It was announced on March 12 that school the rest of the 2019-2020 school year would be virtual and teachers had to scramble to learn how to teach online. Ever since then, all work has been online and most of the teaching has been virtual.

Teachers have had to navigate how to teach virtually and how to do it effectively, and have had a mix of positive and negative experiences with this new way of teaching. 

The hardest part of teaching virtually for foreign language teacher Rosalind Jackson has been away from her students. 

“There’s nothing like being inside of the classroom and having that experience and being with other students and being with the teacher,” Jackson said. 

According to Jackson, the first struggle is getting students to join the Google Meet in the first place. 

For her, after that, the next struggle is getting kids to participate, especially since she teaches a foreign language class. 

“Being on the Google Meets, kids hardly want to show their face,” Jackson said. “Let alone participate and speak French.”

She says that even though there have been negatives of this form of teaching, there are definitely some positives. Jackson is able to use the tools on Google Meet, such as breakout rooms, to create an environment as close to being in the actual classroom as possible. 

Another aspect she has liked is she can now see students she wouldn’t see otherwise. 

“I get to see some students who I didn’t see before when we were in school because they were virtual,” Jackson said. 

Also having a mixed experience is social studies teacher Daniel Jones. He says that one of the biggest struggles he has had to deal with is the loss of class time for students, especially when students had to quarantine. 

“You could have been sitting next to somebody for 20 minutes and find yourself out of school for two weeks,” Jones said.

As a result of lost class time, he found his classes a little more behind than he usually would be in a normal year. Because of this, he had to reevaluate what he was spending his time teaching his students about and whether it was really necessary, especially with assessments. 

He had to figure out a way to make an effective, relevant assessment while students are online. This decision led him to not giving a final exam this semester and shortening his tests to only include the most important information.

“In my opinion, a good assessment is one that helps the students learn,” Jones said.

While he’s had some challenges, many good things have come out of remote learning. He says it has made him, and many other teachers he talks to, more organized and overall a better teacher. 

He also thinks that he has now had the experience with this new form of teaching and is able to really do well next semester. 

“I think we’re in a good spot right now,” Jones said. “And I think we’re ready to just take off next semester.”