Remote learning is a new perspective and also a new normal in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic, ensuring that students are able to get a fair education no matter if they are in school or remote learning. I reached out to several staff members within the school to ask their opinions on remote schooling, how it is effecting how they teach their subject/do their work, and what the pros and cons of having to do their jobs remotely.
The first person that I asked these questions to was Mrs. Mundy, a Jr. High and High school science teacher. She said “I believe that a big part of education is developing the ability to work and communicate with others which I find is difficult when learning remotely” also stating that “Remote learning works well if you are very self-motivated and are able to avoid distractions that keep one from their work, but this is hard to do when at in a personal “comfort zone.” When I asked her, “What are the pros and cons of teaching remotely,” she said that she is spending lots of time on finding materials that students can make connections on it daily. She has also spent much time on looking for fun activities that the remote learners can do like labs and assignments like that. One of the things that she likes about remote schooling is that in one way or another she can still see her students and talk to them. She also likes that there are still ways to answer their questions, and not leave them in the dark. The last thing that was brought up was the question “How have you had to change your teaching style to fit in online students?” She has said that in many ways it has been difficult and also that she has gained a new respect for online teachers, stating that “It’s not an easy task because you need to teach differently to try to keep your students actively involved and interested”. She also stated that “In some ways I feel like I am a first-year teacher again.”
The second person that I asked these questions was Mrs. Lane, a Jr High Math teacher. She said that during remote learning, it was harder for her to see if a student is struggling with the concept because she can not pick up non-verbal cues and facial expressions as easily as when everyone was in school. In response to the question “What are the pros and cons of teaching remotely?” she says that there is not nearly enough time for her to teach both sides with the quality that she would like, and that at the end of the day both sides suffer from this. She stated to the question “How have you had to change your teaching style to fit in online students” that she is mainly making contact with the remote students through google classroom and emails. She also is using various other things like Nearpods or YouTube videos that relate to the subject they are learning about.
A different perspective on the matter arose when I asked Missy Adams, the schools Food Service Director on how the school’s cafeteria is operating during the remote weeks that we have had and will have. Her answer to the question “How did remote learning affect the cafeteria, staff and getting food to students?” was that its was hard to get into a routine of making the food, prepping it for students and getting it to them, but once it was down, it worked very smoothly. She also stated that it was pretty hard for her to be able to order food, especially with the shortages of resources due to the pandemic. She said in response a question about her staff, that “I am very lucky to have a great group who care about the students and community and have been very flexible to do whatever it takes to get the job done”
Even though the teachers are trying their hardest to make sure that the remote students are having the equal schooling opportunities as the in person learners, the statistics show that over 80% of our online schooling students are failing. Hopefully this statistic will go down due to the measures that our Superintendent has put into place, having the teachers meet virtually with students almost every day, for a long enough time so that they can ask questions and get sufficient help with their work.