PHS Teachers Getting Adapted to Online Learning

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Photo courtesy of Ms. Kessler

Ms. Kessler publishes her weekly lesson plans from home while her three year old daughter tries to get her attention.

Matthew Jacobi, Editor-In-Chief

While teachers have been assigning online activities, tests, and assignments, some teachers find online learning a bit of a struggle.

Ms. Moritz, PHS English Teacher, says that she struggles with technology in general. “I often rely on my students to help me. My colleagues have been very helpful, but I’m definitely learning as I go. In addition, ELA classes assess learning through reading, writing, and oral communication skills. Presentations are a challenge, and Socratic Seminars are definitely less natural,” stated Ms. Moritz.

While Ms. Moritz appreciates that she still has some way to communicate with her students, she is not a big fan of online learning. “The worst part is the lack of genuine connection with my kids. Google Meet sessions and Google Classroom assignments are a poor substitute for face-to-face interactions.”

Ms. Moritz has also experienced less student participation throughout the online period. “In the beginning, most of my students were checking in with me and turning in work. Unfortunately, the number of students completing assignments and joining our Google Meet discussions has deteriorated. Some students are sleeping through scheduled meetings, others are not turning in major assignments, and some have not communicated with teachers at all. Students are struggling to balance issues at home with maintaining a schedule and turning in school work. This is understandable, but also frustrating,” she explained.

Ms. Kessler, Biology teacher, also finds online learning challenging. “I don’t dislike online learning, but I don’t really like it either. I think it has its place, but it’s not my favorite way of teaching. I like having some face to face interaction with my students, because there are just some things you learn better from actually being there. It’s also more fun having others to learn with. I think for some students it is more beneficial to an extent, but for most, I think they do better actually being at school and learning from an actual teacher and working with other students,” Ms. Kessler explained.

Kessler hasn’t had too many problems with online learning. “My biggest struggle is grading, since work currently can be turned in late I have some students who are doing work from weeks ago. It has me jumping back and forth with answer keys and my grade book. My only other personal struggle is trying to do work with a three year old wanting my attention. She doesn’t always understand that Mommy is working and I can’t play with her right away, or that she can’t help me type emails. She is constantly asking if she can push buttons on my laptop.”

With most schools in the country moving to online learning, our experience could change how we learn in the future. Ms. Kessler can see online learning happening in our future for things like snow days, so we would not have to make up those days up at the end of the year. “I could also see us going with a shorter week, say four days, and day five would be an online day where students work on assignments at home. I can’t see us going to a complete online learning program because the social interaction is so important. I miss seeing my students and working with other teachers,” Ms. Kessler stated.