Teachers discuss complications with virtual learning

With Thanksgiving break about to start, students are preparing for a few days of break, and then coming back to school, to come back to their normal routine. Just to hear the news that Springdale School District is doing yet another week of virtual school.

“My overall opinion on virtual is that it is better for us to have it with regard to the Coronavirus, but problematic for academics and student mental health,” English teacher Erin Jones said.

According to English teacher Robin Grissom, virtual school adds a new, weighing stress in both teachers and students, though it has its benefits.

“It can be stressful for both students and teachers but some students do well with virtual and excel at it,” Grissom said. “I believe it is basically an individual preference for both. I have managed doing it okay but not great,”

Many teachers express their frustration revolving around this subject. With students staying quiet and not paying attention. Not just during Zooms, but even in class.

“There has definitely been less participation,” Jones said. “While I had already noticed a decline in that over the last few years, masks have definitely magnified students’ unwillingness to talk.”

Though, according to Jones and Grissom, teachers assign less and easier work. They are genuinely concerned about their students well being, which affects their own.

“Several of my students have reported feeling more isolated,” Jones said. “I know my son, a freshman at the U of A, is struggling to maintain friendships and socialization in light of COVID precautions.”

Virtual learning has put a wall between teachers and students. They aren’t able to connect behind screens.

“Both virtual and blended make it exceedingly difficult to form meaningful relationships with students,” Jones said. “The masks really do interfere with the comfort level that develops over time in a normal classroom. We talk less, stare at screens more.”

Even though students and teachers have some experience of virtual learning from back in the Spring, it is definitely different this year after starting a completely new school year.

“A [virtual school] necessary evil during this pandemic,” Grissom said.