Online Learning - The Flip Side
I think we can all agree that online school was not the best experience. Everything was so different than going to an actual school. We all have a different perspective on things therefore I asked my Spanish teacher, Señora Nelson, a few questions about what she thought of online school.
Q. How many years have you been teaching?
A. I just finished my 17th year of teaching.
Q. What did you first think about teaching from home?
A. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think our year would be cut short due to a terrible virus, and that we would go to cyber teaching and learning; that's unimaginable. At first, it felt like we were in an alternate universe; it was surreal. I almost felt guilty for sleeping in until 7:30 a.m. to be ready for work at 8:00 when I normally wake up at 4:30 a.m. for work. As you know, teaching is a very social profession, and to have the social aspect taken away from me was a bit displeasing. I missed my students immediately.
Q. Was it easy adjusting to the new way of teaching?
A. I would say that the transition to our new reality was difficult for me, primarily because I immediately felt a void from not working in person with my students. I missed teaching them, joking with them, and laughing with them each day. My students inspire me to be at my best because they deserve nothing less. They know that there is never a dull moment in Spanish class because we are always engaged in a variety of activities, and let it be known that we are all guilty of laughing at something (sometimes they even laugh at me, which is completely fine)
Q. Are there some things that you like about teaching from home that you didn't have at school?
A. The absolute best part of working from home was having my dog, Jaxon, as my office partner. He was by my side all day, so we were both in our glory with that. Another plus was being able to freely get up and make a coffee or eat a snack at my leisure. Being at home took the rigidness away that I experience in the classroom, and it allowed for some more freedom in my workday schedule.
Q. What were somethings that you didn't like about online teaching?
A. I am not very fond of online teaching because I feel that my students were slighted 1/4 of a year of their Spanish education. The program we used was very thorough and touched on reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the target language, but I feel that the students did not walk away with the information that they would have had we been in school. They did their work just to get by; I don't think it was a meaningful experience for them. Sometimes it was difficult to bring some students to log in and do their work; I am powerless behind a computer, and that was quite frustrating.
Q. Was using the online platform easier than teaching in person?
A. Teaching from home was easier for the fact that I was not absolutely depleted of my energy at the end of the day like I normally am when we are in school. Working with 140 students, and being pulled in many directions is exhausting each day, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Feeling that sense of accomplishment after working with my students on a daily basis is so rewarding to me. I want our old norm back. I want to be in the classroom with my students, and oddly I want that exhaustion back. My students keep me going, and they are my driving force to make changes and improvements each day to offer them the best educational experience they can have. My fingers are crossed that we can return to our schools soon.
I think we can all agree that this year has been totally bizarre. I don't think any of us would ever think this could happen. I definitely miss the Spanish class with Señora. So as she would say, everybody, calm down and enjoy Summer.