Teaching during the pandemic
On March 13 2020, both teachers and students believed that school would move online for two weeks. As March 29 approached, everyone knew the story would be much different. At this point in time not only were students stressed with the work from online-learning, but the teachers also faced their own challenges as to how they would be able to successfully teach during this uncertain time.
Pamela Darnell, a special education teacher for kindergarten through third grade, found the beginning of online-teaching to be especially difficult saying, "I was unable to teach my kindergartners and first graders how to work online. I was extremely anxious."
Teachers have had to find new platforms and websites for their students to use. Darnell believes that more preparation was needed before she and other teachers were required to begin teaching online. She states, "The one thing that I wish would be changed with the current state of online teaching would be the addition of opportunities for students to learn how to use the technology in-person before completely going online."
Teaching at a public school, she finds that not having the resources to go online like San Joaquin Memorial has, makes her job much more difficult. Her school, in the small town of Riverdale, had few Chromebooks for students to use before the pandemic. Her school district was able to buy enough Chromebooks for each student to take one home a couple weeks after the pandemic began. Yet the students, who only used the Chromebooks around once a week at school, were unable to understand how to access the class materials.
Darnell believes that with this pandemic, her stress has greatly increased to new levels. When asked if she would feel comfortable with students going back to school in our current state, she replied "absolutely not. I care more about the health and safety of the students and teachers than the success rate of my online-teaching."
She said that she will continue to find new resources and ways for her students to manage online-learning and will try her hardest to give her students the best teaching experience possible for the time being.
Though Darnell does not believe now is the right time for kids to go back to school, second grade teacher Daniel Zarate feels comfortable coming back on a limited seating basis, twice a week for a couple of hours. Zarate stated that at the beginning of the pandemic, he was worried that his students who do not have much support at home would fall behind. He said that he feels as though he is adapting to online-teaching and is not as stressed as he was with teaching earlier in the pandemic.
When asked what he would change about the current state of online teaching if he had the power to, Zarate immediately replied "a greater internet connection."
Though students feel that this is mainly an issue that they have to deal with, they do not understand that on the other side of the screen teachers deal with practically the same problems themselves. He feels as though maintaining the attention of his students is one of his greatest challenges. Some students have access to phones or other electronic devices during class which is a major distraction. There is no way for teachers to stop students from being on their phones during class, and it is just something they have to look past while teaching online.
With online learning requiring students to branch out of their comfort zones, they do not realize the even greater effect this has on teachers. Before getting upset about how a teacher is teaching during this difficult time, realize that they are trying their best to teach during these unforeseen circumstances.