Zooming Around Obstacles: Teachers Adapt to New Norms


Dr. Boyd

Mr. Lopinot is among many teachers who had their way of teaching flipped upside down thanks to COVID-19.

Chris Weaver, Staff Writer

With the beginning of Phase II of Pattonville’s schedule, there is no doubt that both students and teachers are relieved that they can finally see their peers in person after seven challenging months. Since the second semester of 2019-2020, virtual learning has been a tough journey not only for students, but for teachers as well.

Many teachers have disliked virtual learning since its start back in March of 2020. Mr. Lopinot, ELA teacher, says what he did not like about the new type of learning was the lack of communication between teachers and students and, to him, “It was horrid.”

German teacher Mrs. Frerker also had similar concerns regarding virtual learning. She says, “A lot of students simply chose not to do any work after they found out that it wouldn’t count against their grade.”

Both aspects combined into one headache, forming major obstacles that teachers had to overcome.

When the 2020-2021 school year began, teachers began to form ways to circumvent these types of annoyances. For example, if a student has left a computer to do who knows what, Mr. Lopinot states that “in my other classes– oh yeah– [the students are] gone. If I’m talking to them or if they don’t give a thumbs up or emoji, they’re out.”

It goes without saying that teachers are becoming fed up with some students’ behaviors and habits developed prior to this school year. But when these become too much to handle to the point that it becomes a hiccup, Mrs. Frerker says, “I take a walk before school and a walk after to decompress.”

“I try to take a few deep breaths and refocus before the next Zoom. I try not to let myself be super critical of my teaching right now, as there are so many factors I can’t control,” explains Mrs. Frerker.

Even if students manage to take advantage of the online experience, teachers like Mr. Lopinot and Mrs. Frerker have found ways to combat the stress of dealing with such situations.

Virtual learning has been a rough ride for both teachers and students alike. Whether it was because of various technical difficulties or students flat out ditching their schoolwork, it has been a headache for both sides. While many enjoy the return to school, others have chosen to stay home and continue online school through second semester.