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Ask the Teachers: Education during a Global Pandemic

Interviewer: Kitty Liu Editors: Tiffany Chen, Joyce Hai, Demi Leng, Shannon Tan, Cynthia Zhang, Molly Zhao, Leon Zhou

Interviewee: Ms. Mora and Mrs. Sukhhiran

Question: What are some difficulties that you have faced with online learning, given the limited resources available?

a) Reaching out to students who unfortunately may not have the same resources toward accessing remote learning. The school has been trying its best to reach all students, but it is hard to get to everyone.

b) The lack of resources, such as a working camera or iPad, to be able to efficiently display my work to my students. Additionally, it is also harder to assess a student’s learning, because you can’t completely tell if they completed the work on their own, especially without the in-person opportunities to speak to them about it.

Question: Can you describe your overall experience with digitized learning? Do you prefer in-class or online instruction?

a) I prefer the in-class interactions I previously had with students daily since those interactions create stronger bonds than I ever can with remote learning. I have also noticed that digitized learning has seemed to bring out a resource gap within our school, because of the lack of materials that some students now face. Although it may not be noticeable to all, it still exists.

Question: Have you asked your students about their preferences for online learning versus in-class instruction? What was their response?

a) I think most students are starting to realize that the benefits of in-person learning outweigh those in remote learning. This experience was interesting at first, but it will never be able to replace the interactions we used to have with each other every day, whether we like it or not.

b) I think the majority of students don’t prefer online learning, but that is probably because they aren’t used to it. I completely understand that it may feel overwhelming if you have to do 5+ assignments a day by yourself.

Question: Was there anything especially interesting or inspiring that you have noticed since online instruction began?

a) Yes! To my surprise, many students that once excelled in in-person instruction have begun to struggle and lose motivation with online learning. On the other hand, students who rarely showed up to class are working hard and getting As now.

Question: Overall, were you prepared for the school closures? How do you feel the students’ curriculum has been affected (especially if students are in AP courses)?

a) Towards the end of February, with other countries and counties closing down due to the pandemic, most of us began to realize that closing was inevitable and necessary. We began working together during March to create a modified curriculum for online classes, so I do feel like us teachers were prepared to a certain degree.

b) I think the student’s curriculum has changed a bit because we aren’t targeting our instruction towards the regents. Instead, we are spending more time on skills aligned to the curriculum, but those are not as rigorous as the regents would be. Also, there are no more examinations, only culminating tasks in which students receive ample time for completion.

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