Teachers Adjust to Working in a New Environment


Courtesy of Ms. Siu

Being surrounded by plants gives Ms. Siu a calming background for her students.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused teachers and students to do all teaching and learning from home. Teachers have had to make major changes to their teaching strategies because of this new reality, and the transition has been far from easy. 

When asked what their initial reaction was to learning they had to teach 100% virtually, after last spring, the teacher’s overall response was disappointed. “I was bummed because it is harder for students to learn and I know I’m a more effective teacher in person.  Selfishly I really enjoy the day to day interaction with the kids,” said Mr. Hicks. “All this being said I understood the decision and I’m happy to make the best of a difficult situation.”

Many other teachers also said they would really miss seeing their students in person. Mrs. Barton said, “I was happy that we were returning to school, but sad that there would be no interaction with students. I think for most teachers working with students and making relationships is why we got into this line of work.”

Taking advantage of the benefits of distance learning, Mr. Hicks teaches from the shores of Higgins Lake in Michigan. (Courtesy of Mr. Hicks)

This new way of life has also added many new challenges to the mix. “The internet has been a challenge for everyone, some families have multiple school age students as well as parental units working from home, while some people just have poor internet connections,” said Ms. Siu. “Even with the most motivated students, online learning can be unmotivating and stressful spending hours in front of a screen.”

Some teachers want the comfortable environment of teaching from there classroom and Ms. Barton is one of them. (Courtesy of Ms. Barton)

Mr. Hicks also commented on the struggles of virtual learning, “As a teacher it’s harder for me to gage student understanding. I pick up a lot from student body language and expressions. We also can’t meet with students one-on-one on Google Meets so that makes it hard for students to express concerns.”

However, even during these difficult times, some teachers are still finding a way to look at the bright side of this situation. “We’ve been able to stay safe. I also think that learning how to teach in a different model has forced all teachers to become more creative and organized,” said Ms. Nguyen, on some of the advantages to online school.

Mr. George shared a similar outlook, of teachers adapting in positive ways, stating, “I feel that the switch to virtual has led to a greater collaboration between teachers within the same content learning team.  For students, I think one advantage is that this really is going to provide students with the opportunity to take ownership of their learning.”