Surprise! Teachers don’t like virtual learning either

Stella Fetherston, Art Editor

Distanced learning is tough, and not just for students. Teachers are striving to provide a sufficient education for their students under unfavorable conditions. Working overtime is a given, and it’s no shocker that teachers are both emotionally and physically drained. Between the fast-paced curriculum to their struggle with student engagement online, educators are forced to compensate for online school’s shortcomings. 

 Tualatin Science teacher Dielle Baker admitted that while she looked forward to using Florida Virtual, the chemistry material ended up being inadequate. The information became a supplemental rather than the primary lesson, which it was intended as. She isn’t alone. A lot of teachers are adapting Florida Virtual to their classes. However, this task consumes valuable time that teachers could use elsewhere, in work and in their personal lives. 

Andrew Middleton, a fourth-grade teacher at Alberta Rider Elementary described his experience as a teacher and a father. 

“[Online school] spills my teaching life into my home life. It’s very difficult with my first grader — my work meetings are usually the same time as his check-ins. He needs to wait until the evening until I can check on his work, which requires a lot of independence for a 6-year-old.”

Such a rigorous schedule makes it hard for many teachers to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Outside of school, teachers must delegate their remaining time and energy to their other responsibilities, leaving little room for downtime. 

Due to the restrictions of distanced learning, teachers also have to allocate more effort towards bonding with their students. 

Emily Dehn, a 6th-grade teacher at Twality Middle School, said, “I find it challenging to make sure I am connecting with all of my students … Kids have so many challenges making it harder from watching siblings, to wifi issues, to summoning motivation, to resisting the Xbox over in the corner. It’s hard to compete with all of that … It is also hard to create a really social, dynamic environment in the online classroom. Middle school students are social learners, and that is seriously more challenging online.” 

Behind a black screen, teachers can’t be certain whether or not a student is actively learning or even in the room. At the elementary level, keeping students engaged becomes increasingly difficult. Canvas isn’t exactly the easier platform to use, especially for a little kid, so teachers must contend for their students’ attention. Whether using colorful designs on their homepages, animated voices and expressions or fun props during lessons, these educators are working hard to cultivate a positive atmosphere for their students and establish good relationships. 

The long hours are leaving teachers feeling exhausted and stressed out. Teachers are finding ways to adapt, which might take form as regular exercise or a socially-distanced get-together. Teachers and students alike are hoping the coming semester will change to better support teachers and their students.