Teachers adapt to distance learning

Elise Wilke-Grimm
News/Opinion Editor

Donald Johnson teaches his fourth hour journalism and publications class on Zoom. Screenshot by Elise Wilke- Grimm

Since the start of distance learning teachers and students have found new online ways to make things work in their classes.

Some teachers, like Amie Shae, FACS teacher, or Susan Riegel, math teacher, report having trouble juggling both teaching their classes as well as providing help for their children. 

“I work non-stop; I am homeschooling my kiddo. I work super early, super late, and there is so much to do and learn,” Shae said.

It has been difficult for teachers to make enough time in the day to be contingent upon teaching their classes and supervising their children, but most teachers have been finding ways to make it work. Riegel’s one-year-old daughter has joined her for a couple of Zoom meetings; it is important for Riegel to be an active presence in her children’s lives.

“It is definitely difficult to juggle parenting and teaching at the same time. I feel guilty for not being 100% present for my daughters, and I also feel bad for the disruptions they cause to live Zoom meetings,” Riegel said.

Distance learning can be a difficult process to fall into, but it can also offer amenities. For hands-on classes like drama, drama teacher Todd Schaefer needed to quickly adapt to finding ways to educate his students like taking advantage of online resources such as watching designer interviews and having backstage access to Broadway shows.

For classes that generally require a lot of face-to-face interaction in order to get the proper experience, it can be difficult to mimic that in an online setting. Schaefer has been trying to utilize all of his assets by using Zoom and Flipgrid as much as possible in order to get as much “face-to-face” interaction as possible.

“I want to be back in person the minute it is safe to do so…theater is a live person-to-person art form. This is not good for our show season. We need a live audience to do our work properly. I’m kind of excited to see how our fall production on Zoom/YouTube LIVE goes. It’s new for everyone involved. It will be announced soon,” Schaefer said.

Even with useful online tools such as Zoom or Flipgrid it’s not the same as being in person. Social Studies teacher Conner Katsev has been trying to make the best out of the situation by trying out different online games such as a Plinko board game Katsev bought or psychology social experiments over email, but even with these online activities, it’s difficult to build connections in an online setting.

“I really miss chatting with students before and after class. With Zoom, everyone is muted at the beginning, and when I say class is done everyone leaves my class (do not blame them for going fast), but it is the downtime in teaching where you can just have casual conversations that I miss and have been difficult,” Katsev said.

 

Elise Wilke-Grimm – News/Opinion Editor

This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s second year on ECHO staff. She is excited to continue working on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.

 


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