Adjusting to the new hybrid schedule has been a challenge for everyone. The Kearnian asked for the perspective of both students and teachers on what they felt has changed since the start of this new schedule.
The hybrid schedule, in my opinion, has made teaching more complicated and taken my focus away from my students. As this is a hands-on class, I need to keep an eye on the students in front of me, many of whom are using knives and fire for the first time, while also giving my virtual students the attention they deserve.
The hallways feel empty and the school echoes with the few students that did return. I don’t have any comparison for the change over from virtual to in person yet, as we just began but I do feel I am diverting my attention away from the robust lessons I was able to cohesively deliver when all of my students were virtual. As a new teacher, I knew the hybrid beginning would be lackluster in comparison to my “first day” I had envisioned in my head back in September. I do love getting to see a few of my students’ faces IRL though!
After only 3 days I can tell you there is a noticeable change in my virtual students. I am engaged and coaching the in person students while the virtual students, with no need to give me their full attention, are zoning out. I asked several questions today about measurement conversions and alternate ingredients, and received little to NO response from the virtual kids. They are forced to sit around while I instruct and guide the in person students through recipe demos.
I do not feel they are getting the enrichment I was able to provide them when the entire class was virtual. Next week when we repeat the recipe with the students, I’ll be interested to see who will remain engaged and who will “check out”. I completely understand why parents and students made the decision to remain virtual (safety is still a huge factor), and I am so sorry I am unable to provide the same level of education I was able to prior to hybrid.
I definitely feel a greater sense of community with my fellow faculty since in-person learning began. While I saw students’ faces frequently on camera, it was rare for me to see other teachers.
I’d also say that it is different for me to physically come to work rather than stay at home all the time. I enjoy getting out of the house after nearly a year of being home. I didn’t think I’d miss commuting on the Turnpike, but the act of getting up and getting ready to go has been a welcome change. I also think the atmosphere is better. I do not believe it’s healthy to lack a work/home boundary, and mentally I appreciate having that be more well-defined.
I was nervous meeting ‘new’ students because I think the pandemic has made me less of a social person. Even going out shopping has been strange as it’s not always clear how far away to stand from other people. I don’t think it’s controversial at all to say that humans are social animals and we’re made to interact outside of our small family groups. So, I had some trepidation about being around people I didn’t really know.
The truth is that everything has gone as well as you could expect and more. It’s interesting to me that this re-opening of sorts has coincided with Spring. That’s the way it feels to me. Renewal and reengagement after a long winter slumber. It’s invigorating to be around faculty and students alike, and as I look back it seems silly that I was nervous.
He says he can see teaching and learning aspects of school have changed since the start of the new schedule. Going back and forth between virtual and in-person classes is hard to keep up with. Chris was never a big fan of the virtual schedule because he had been so used to going to in-person school his whole life. But as he put it “we all just had to deal with it.” With the virtual schedule he felt unfocused, as though he wasn’t really learning anything and just “getting by.”
His parents were the ones who said it would be best for him to go back to school. He was opposed to it at first as his mentality for school had already shifted to virtual learning, and now all of a sudden, he had to go back to school. The change was definitely hard to adjust to and is still difficult for him.
He also sees the atmosphere of the school is very melancholic and dull because the shift was so large, and there are not as many students in school as expected.