Student vs Teachers: Same Boat, Different Waters
Crowded halls with loud teenagers, classrooms once filled with desks throughout a four-walled building, are now screens with 25 faces inside a four-sided square. This virtual setting forces students and teachers alike to face different and unprecedented challenges, but students have had a harder time adjusting to virtual learning.
Students carry the workload of all their classes and extracurriculars. They also face a disadvantage because they do not have as much access to teachers as they would have in-person. Although support blocks and other opportunities to get help are offered, the virtual interaction and emailing do not encourage students to ask questions. Considering this, for students, online schooling is harder due to the lack of motivation stemming from these challenges. Leaunia Hunt, an AP/honors senior tennis player, stated “I have so many other priorities at home that make school feel optional sometimes...” Senior Shayna Manaloto agrees, “I definitely have less motivation for school since it feels more like a choice… online learning has made it harder for me because of personal problems at home, trying to teach/learn a concept by myself…” These issues some students face depict challenges teachers may not recognize.
Distractions from home, feeling school is optional, and learning independently makes school difficult for students due to the lack of motivation it causes. A pre-Covid-19 school day of attending school for around 7 hours, then possibly after school activities have been altered to opening a device. Additionally, the social aspects of sports and clubs, now through a screen, are missing. All this further decreases one’s motivation to try!
Teachers, on the other hand, need to rework the curriculum to adjust to online schooling. For one, they must teach what used to be 300 minutes worth of information in 140 minutes (a week). Jad Khoury, one of Gahr’s newest teachers stated “It has been quite challenging to adapt all of our materials and content into a virtual environment.” Similarly, Jackie Burneson, one of Gahr’s longest teachers, stated “Old curriculum and lesson plans have been thrown out, and nearly everything is having to be redone. Many teachers are having to learn how to be comfortable with using technology… have to juggle teaching their own classes while at the same time monitoring their own children...” Although teachers need to rework the curriculum into a shorter time period, students are expected to learn all information within the same time frame. It is more challenging to learn new material when having less motivation and having less one-on-one assistance.
Overall, there are more aspects of student-life being impacted during online learning. Experiences from teachers and students depict various challenges for both parties. Indeed, familial challenges, adjusting to technology, and reworking lesson plans are difficulties teachers face making virtual life difficult. But there are numerous other aspects of student-life that are being impacted such as extracurriculars and learning new information, in addition to lack of motivation, demonstrating that students have to be tenacious when navigating through the waters of a virtual setting.