The implementation of distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year has been a strange adjustment for everyone. With LA county ordered to remain completely online until further notice, students, staff, and parents at Quartz Hill have been forced to change routines. Teachers, in particular, have shared their thoughts and opinions on this new change, along with possible concerns they have if the school were to go back to normal.
When asking teachers what their immediate thoughts on distance learning were, most agreed on one particular thing. The lack of human interaction is not only uncomfortable but discouraging as well. Mr. Fields, the AP Art History teacher here at Quartz Hill, offers a comedic response to the awkwardness. “Google Meets started with awkward first impressions, though they have quickly evolved to awkward silence.” He later adds, “I often feel like a radio DJ speaking into a boom mic, hoping for a caller to chime in with a question or comment to alleviate the dead air-time.” Several teachers share his thoughts on the awkwardness and lack of connection with students. Mr. Dabo, a multi-subject math teacher, happens to be one of them. “It’s hard enough getting students to trust me and ask me questions when we were all in the classroom. With distance learning, it’s even more difficult.” Not only is gaining trust difficult, but the human connection in general is. Mrs. Garcia Del Real, a Spanish Two teacher, sums all of these concerns up, stating, “It is impossible to make a human connection with students’ initials.”
Further adding to the concerns of teachers has been the technical side of distance learning. Mrs. Dhillonn, a multi-media arts teacher, offers us her perspective, “I think learning all the new computer programs to teach smoothly has been challenging.” The need to play around with new technology adds to teachers’ workloads and limits their availability to students. Mr. Fields shared his concerns on the new workload. “I need to constantly adapt and test new methods, applications, programs, and websites to get a feel for what will work best for the students. It’s time-consuming, and I feel like the work never stops.” Because most teachers are teaching from their own homes, WiFi is a universal struggle. Mr. Dabo tells us just how annoying, an unreliable connection is, saying, “Lastly, another struggle is my internet connection. Holy cow!”
Though we are stuck with the distance learning schedule now, most teachers are eager to get back to full-time in-person school again. Mrs. Garcia Del Real keeps it brief and honest in saying, “As for concerns to bring students back to in-person instruction, I personally do not have any.” Now more than ever, it is easy to see just how valuable interactions with our teachers are. However, Mrs. Estrada, a biology teacher, gives us a different perspective, one of a parent rather than a teacher. “My main concern would be that I can’t help my daughter with her schoolwork. I would also worry about being exposed to COVID because my son has a pre-existing lung condition.” Safety is everyone’s number one priority right now, even though it adds some extra difficulties to our everyday lives.
While distance learning has definitely been a valid struggle for students, school staff members are going through several similar issues. Please remember your teachers are doing their absolute best during this time and deserve the same patience and understanding that they offer to you.