Teachers Are Also Struggling During Odd Time of Online Learning

Kirstin Parker and Ellie Belshaw

Receiving emails about not working zoom links, navigating the new school platform Canvas, and trying to create a learning environment that is still engaging, the teachers of Miramonte High School endure the new world of online teaching.

Due to COVID-19, Miramonte High School is one of nearly 670 school districts in California kicking off their 20-21 school year with online learning, according to EdSource.

According to California Department of Public Health Guidelines, in order for Miramonte to have in person school again, our county must get off the watch list for two weeks. Then admin will be able to reevaluate returning to school. Even when we do, there will be strict guidelines that all staff, teachers, and students must follow. In the meantime, teachers are making the best of online teaching.

This school year, all high schools in the Acalanes School District are now using the single platform Canvas. “I see the value in that it’s one place for students to go to as opposed to one teacher using google classroom, but another teacher who really puts their assignments on schoolloop,” Sports director and history teacher, James Lathrop said.

During online teaching, it is not as easy for teachers to connect with students the same way they would be able to while in school. “Because you really need to set up a time and place for Zoom, those more casual and spontaneous interactions don’t happen. I hadn’t realized how essential those were to me,” English and social studies teacher Elizabeth Aracic said. 

Teachers beyond our district are also struggling with this problem. In an interview with the New York times, Gregg Wiktin, teacher in San Jose, California states, “I work with continuation high school students (where I have been for 23 years) who have a deep connection to our school, and I know we all feel lost, lost without the daily hugs, fist bumps and dose of reality we try to provide to each other.”

Teachers struggling to connect with students are not the only thing that is difficult with online learning. Navigating zoom and canvas is just as challenging for teachers as it is for students. During an interview with New York TImes, Janet Kass, a first grade teacher from Bloomingburg, New York, described her experience with online learning. “I feel as though I am attempting to drive on a road that I am simultaneously paving while also following a paper map.”  

Online learning has opened new opportunities to teachers that weren’t available when teaching in person. “I like that by using the chat, you can hear every voice, rather than only the kids who raise their hands and talk. I like how easy it is to put students into breakout rooms and then pull them back again. There are some things I’m able to do now that I am going to miss when we get back in the classroom,” Aracic said. 

With the many complications and stress of teaching online, Miramonte teachers are still able to find a silver lining. “I have had some funny glimpses of moms and dads trying to be invisible behind their kids, and I have had some silly stuff with kids trying to make their peers laugh and forgetting that the whole class can see them. Mostly when something goes wrong we have to just laugh it off and keep trying,” English teacher Amy Krochmal said.

With no certain answer of when will be able to return back to school, Miramonte teachers have faith that as a community we can come together and make the best of this school year.