With the ongoing pandemic, Stamford High School has had to make drastic changes to the course curriculum to keep in person classes functioning. As if in person teaching during these times isn’t hard enough, new school rules state that teachers must also teach virtual students at the same time. Teachers are having to multitask and juggling back and forth within class and virtual students makes it harder for lessons to be taught and also affects students’ ability to learn. Stamford High School should not require teachers to instruct virtual and in class students at once because it detracts from the experiences of all. While teaching both simultaneously can be helpful to keep students on the same page, it also brings several hardships for the students and teachers involved.
Having Google Meet meetings with virtual students while also teaching in class raises challenges for both sets of students. The virtual students rely on sometimes unreliable wifi and Google Meets to function properly or else they can not be involved in the lesson. Due to the pandemic, almost everything is being done virtually at home. Students have parents working from home and siblings who also have virtual classes using the internet. Having multiple people on the internet at the same time causes wifi and server issues. Areas experience outages because the systems are overtaxed. If students are unable to connect to their classes and Google Meets they not only get marked absent but also miss a class lesson and fall behind.
Now that teachers have to teach both students at the same time it means that they are trying to keep both classes on the same page as far as work and lessons. So if a student misses class they are behind the whole class which can not only affect their learning but also their grades. Whenever there’s an issue with the camera, computer, or screen the teacher has to stop what they are doing and fix the issue for the virtual students. Most do not have experience in tech support. In the end this takes away from everyones’ education.
Senior Maz Yaghmaie stated, “I do not like having google meets on virtual days because it just makes everything more chaotic. If I am having wifi problems and I can’t login to a google meet I miss a whole lesson and fall behind. If we did not have google meets it would give me a break and time to catch up on work.”
In class students are experiencing hardships as well. Being physically in class already poses the obvious threat of catching the coronavirus. With hundreds of kids in the same vicinity as you in class, in the hallways, and in lunch there is bound to be crossover and potential threats. In class students who are putting themselves at risk just by coming to school are not getting the learning experience they deserve because their teachers are so focused on making sure the virtual students are being attended to. Teachers constantly attending to the virtual kids and making sure they are understanding takes away from the students in class.
Students in class have to deal with several other difficult variables as well. With the 6-feet social distancing rules, desks are spread far apart in the classrooms. Since there needs to be a lot of space between desks it pushes the students farther away from the teacher. For students who sit in the back of the class, it can be especially hard to hear or see the board. With the new 6-feet apart rule ,there is nothing a teacher can do to help these students so they are stuck sitting in the back of the classroom. In class, students must wear a mask at all times. Wearing a mask for almost seven hours straight can be really difficult.
Senior Elizabeth Karipides said, “It is hard being an in-class student because the teacher spends a majority of class time focusing and attending to the virtual kids. The virtual meetings take away from in class time and lessons. I think it would be a lot better if teachers did not teach both in-class and virtual students at the same time. It would be less chaotic for the teachers and a better learning experience for the students.”
While both student situations are challenging the teachers are in the hardest predicaments under the new hybrid lesson rules. Teachers have to teach two sets of students, A and B day students the same lessons. This means they have to teach the same class to two different classes. As if teaching multiple classes was not hard enough the new hybrid rules made it a lot harder. The BOE thought teaching in class and virtual at the same time would get rid of having to repeat the lessons, but it didn’t. Often, students did not fully understand what was going on while they were virtual, so the teacher has to waste class time the next day going over it. The theory that it saves the teacher’s time is not true. Not to mention teaching two sets of students at once makes the teacher’s job way more stressful.
This ongoing pandemic has been difficult for everyone, especially students and teachers. Having a proper education is an important building block to being successful and Covid has impacted students’ ways of learning. It’s especially difficult to learn under the current circumstances with the new hybrid system that includes teaching both in class and virtual students at once. While in some ways it may seem that teaching both students in class and at home is better, it actually just puts more stress on everyone.