As district moves to virtual learning students, teachers adjust to differences between classroom and screen

As district moves to virtual learning students, teachers adjust to differences between classroom and screen

Students have had their first week of virtual learning, and there are numerous mixed opinions about it. There is no doubt that students and teachers have never done anything like this before.  Emma Lorenz, a sophomore this year at AL, has a lot to say about these online learning developments so far. 

“Google Meet makes me feel more engaged because it is easier to do at home,” Lorenz said. “It is simple to ask questions rather than at school and I understand better and continue to do better at the comfort of my home rather than school.” 

“Google Meet” is the app we use to virtually communicate at AL. 

These changes are significant for many students at AL. It is a change that they have never experienced. Some students dislike virtual learning for many reasons such as the lack of seeing friends, school work being taught and shown differently, and any WiFi issues they may have. They may not participate, students may not have their cameras on, so they could be off task.  Teachers worry that students may cheat during tests, which really tests their integrity. 

Dirk Waller is a history teacher at AL and has several opinions about this year’s adjustments. 

Testing is the next issue to tackle and I am sure I may be a little slow in content this semester but I will get it figured out with the help of my hallmates that are great with technology,” Waller said. “Mr. (Tyler) Brietzke and Mr. (Bryan) Pregon have been rocks for me as I am a TOCA (teacher of a certain age) and technology is not my thing but I am embracing it.”

Teachers and students on Google Meet often find that people are all talking at once, interruptions, delays in speaking, audio issues, etc. Miscommunication can make students unmotivated to do their work, which can affect their grades drastically.  

“If I had to change something about Google Meet it would be the cameras,” Lorenz said. “I don’t like turning my camera on because it makes me feel awkward. I like to do my work in peace.” 

Teachers feel that they won’t have a similar bond with students due to virtual learning. Teachers may not have as much time to teach both online and on-site students, and they have to get their point across to both sides. Teachers won’t always be able to interact with students due to the fact that they basically have to teach two classes at once. They can’t always call on students, since online students may choose to make an excuse to not answer and say their WiFi isn’t working. 

The bond is way harder but you have to figure in the masks too, kids are silent behind those things and that is a bigger frustration to me,” Waller said. “I know, a teacher complaining about silent kids, who would have thought! I am thinking of ways though. I pride myself on knowing my students. Just an attitude shift.”

As the year progresses, students will adjust to these changes and develop a routine that may continue for the rest of their high school experience. Whether or not they choose to adapt to these accommodations will depend on future predicaments.