How do teachers feel during this time


Alexander Parker

Social studies teacher Alexander Parker in his “classroom” at home.

Due to COVID-19, teachers are now adapting to a new form of online learning. The past six months have been a huge change for everyone: We have been constantly adjusting to our lives being flipped upside down. Debate rages over how and if students and teachers should go back to school in person. Politicians, teachers, parents and students all have strong opinions on distance learning.

Essentially, teachers miss being in school, seeing students and generally would prefer to be in person, but agree that due to COVID-19, doing school from home is the smartest and safest option.

Adapting to online learning has been hard for everyone, particularly teachers, who now have to take years of in-classroom experiences and move it online. Teachers are feeling more stressed than usual, as they have been presented with more challenges this year, such as using technology, trying to form and keep bonds with students and staff, and essentially “relearning how [they] teach,” social studies and law teacher Alexander Parker said. “It’s like two jobs for the price of one.”

Math teacher Miim Kwak said one of the hardest parts of distance learning is having to “condense material” and ensure that her students understand it.

Parker said that only about “40-50 percent” of the content is being taught, so it’s a game of “picking and choosing” what information to teach. 

Parker said he does not “feel as prepared” as usual because teachers were given “zero information on what to expect” and had to do “a lot of preparing,” as Kwak said. She also said that she felt a wide range of emotions including “anxiety, anger and excitement,”

Another struggle that teachers have been facing has been building connections with students, which is largely important to them. One-on-one personal contact in school helps students to learn and feel more comfortable in their classes, with both their teachers and peers. Teachers cannot see students’ papers to see how they’re doing, or read their body language over Zoom. Kwak said she wants to “keep the same pattern of what [she] would do in the classroom.” Teachers can “read body language and faces,” Kwak said. 

A homeroom survey revealed that students were pretty positive about their experiences with online school. Boldon said that she thinks distance learning is going well due to staff members’ “determination…to make it a good experience for students.” However, she also said that she “misses being part of a bigger community where everyone is together physically.” 

Boldon said she is proud of students for persisting and putting their full effort into distance learning and said she’s “hopeful that we’ll be back together again” but until then, we’re “in this together.”

Staff are grateful to be seeing their students, even if it’s only over a screen, and want everyone to stay safe while helping students get their education. Also, teachers say they wear pajama bottoms while teaching their classes, therefore it is totally acceptable for you to wear your pjs to class too.