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The Missing Link of Online Schooling

Most students don’t expect to spend this year doing school over zoom. It was a curveball that changed our schooling process drastically, but it gave me a sense of gratitude for once being able to physically attend school. The coronavirus pandemic has caused unthinkable changes, especially with how teachers conduct their classes.  So how exactly did SBHS teachers adjust to an entirely online curriculum? I was well aware of how students felt about online school, but I was curious about a teacher’s perspective, so I reached out to get Ms.Ball and Mr.Tormey’s take on online school. 

The pandemic has changed so much of 2020 in general but school stopping was a unique and different experience. When school ended on March 13th I, like many others, celebrated the news. I could have never guessed that the supposed extra week of spring break would turn into almost half a year of quarantine. This year most students miss school, and wish that they could go in person. It’s easy to imagine  that teachers also miss teaching students in person, as holding classes on zoom isn’t the same experience as in school instruction. 

COVID may have affected our school structure, schedules, and even the morale of students; but teachers’ tenacity to help students learn, and persevere has grown even stronger.

“It’s very challenging to teach blank squares” – Ms. Ball (World History teacher and ASB Advisor). She isn’t exaggerating; engagement is crucial for there to be success in an online school environment . The conversation with Ms. Ball brought a sense of perspective into teaching a class virtually. It’s very hard for our educators  to teach a bunch of squares on a screen, like talking to yourself. It’s also difficult to track student engagement. I heard similar things from Mr. Tormey (AP World History and Debate Teacher) “The hardest part about online teaching is engaging the students’’. We also discussed how some of his students don’t engage at all in class. Another issue is testing. Tormey also talked to me about the difficulty of trying to actually assign tests to students. “There is no real way to know they are studying the material”- Mr. Tormey. Another thing that caught my attention from my interview with Ms. Ball, she said “it is really hard to read the room” and she isn’t talking about the zoom code. A good teacher can read how their students are feeling and adjust on the fly. Without that in person connection, there is no way to see how her students are doing. 

There are many difficulties with online classes and that’s because students  haven’t been through this kind of transition before. Our Dean of Student Engagement Mr. Mendoza told me there has been this thing called zoom bombing, which is when a person or student is in a school zoom call and will make jokes or play sounds into their mic. This is another problem that teachers have not previously had to deal with. Mr. Mendoza told me that these trolls have been getting dealt with properly and if they are students punishment is decided on the actions done in the class.  SBHS teachers have had to adapt just like the students and I hope the students recognize and appreciate them  staying safe Dons.

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