Caption: Google Classroom is one of the many learning management systems teachers use to recreate the feeling of a classroom for their students. On it, they can post and collect assignments, add links to websites, and write comments for their students to see. (Photo Courtesy of Lauren Taylor)
Teachers are having to adapt to online teaching this year due to the overwhelming spread of COVID 19. While it is currently the safest way to start the school year, it has never been done before and is challenging teachers to rethink what the word classroom really means.
One of the main difficulties teachers are dealing with is connecting with students. “Things tend to get lost in translation,” said Mrs. Troiano, social studies teacher, via email. “You can’t read facial expressions or body language or even understand personalities.”
In order to combat this issue, teachers are turning to online programs to get to know their students. Items like introduction forums, google slides, and class yearbooks help them better understand who their students are and how their teachers can help them grow.
Virtual learning has also altered what and how teachers teach. Within the time spent in class synchronous time is 40 minutes, which means information has to compact in order to fit in the allotted time slots. “I have to carefully consider what things I can cut out of the original plan and what things are worth keeping,” said Ms. Smith, social studies teacher, via email. Additionally, teachers are having to consider what will be the most “effective and engaging for their students,” said Troiano, regardless of their competency with technology.
These are just a few of the challenges currently facing teachers working with online school. Online school is a new experience for everyone and has required adapting for teachers and students alike.