As students return to school and adjust to the new COVID-19 hybrid learning style, teachers in the St. Viator community who are teaching remotely are equally facing their share of triumphs and challenges. Plunged into a new environment dominated by technology and enhanced safety procedures, remote students and teachers are learning to cope with a never-before-seen style of classroom management.
While teachers and students who are unable to physically be in school are acknowledging both the pros and cons of the remote learning situation, common disparities in the realm of virtual teaching make themselves apparent in the difficulty teachers are having hearing students properly. They report feeling unable to read and connect with their students emotionally.
“My biggest challenges teaching via Zoom are not being able to fully connect with students on both an academic and social aspect and not being able to hear students well,” said math teacher Mrs. Veronica Worthington.
As anticipated, teaching remotely has had different effects on every teacher just as learning remotely has affected each student uniquely, however; all three at-home teachers (Mrs. Vera-Holzmann, Mr. Neville, and Mrs. Worthington) concur that the element of pre-COVID teaching they miss most is being in the same room with their students and having a tangible grasp on their classes.
“Not being in the classroom with my students—close with them physically, connected with them intellectually, happy with them emotionally, and living with them fully—has been the hardest part for me,” said English teacher Mr. Patrick Neville.
Students report that adjusting to a classroom with a substitute moderator and a virtual teacher have similar repercussions.
“I feel that learning from a teacher on Zoom creates a barrier, and you realize how important it is for the teacher to be in class for them to properly gauge the students’ understanding of the topic,” said senior Sarah Schultz, a remotely-taught Spanish and literature student.
All difficulties and shortcomings of the remote teaching style aside, substitute moderators and remote teachers alike have discovered newfound strengths in the beginning months of the school year.
“The students have adapted well to this ‘new world’ we live in, and they appear to be excelling despite the challenges afforded them. I think they are just happy to be back with their friends again,” said math substitute teacher Mr. Mike Miklius.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, and will continue to influence countless decisions in innumerable categories within Viator, yet the challenges of teaching—remote and in-person— remain: allowance for the continuation to strive for the best learning environment possible for all students.