Teachers confront more challenges this school year

Ashley Meyer, Staff Writer

During the 2020 school year teachers have been forced to constantly adapt to the ever changing restrictions and protocols set for them by the county officials in an attempt to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Now as Fulton County enters phase 3 of the transition back to in person learning teachers are forced to adjust once again. Just as teachers seemed to be getting used to teaching online they now need to alter their teaching style once again to having some students back in their classroom while still teaching the majority of students online. 

Phase 3 allows students to go to class in person one day a week with an asynchronous learning day on Wednesday, so teachers have about ¼ of their students in their classroom each day, while the others still learn online. 

Students in the classroom are still required to do most assignments on their computers because the majority of the class is still at home, but teachers are working to shift students who are in person to in person assignments.
Photo by unsplash.

This phase poses its own unique challenges different than when teachers had to solely focus on creating online lessons for students. The teachers now have to create assignments and lesson plans that will be beneficial to students both in the classroom and online.

High school biology teacher Rebeccca Glover states, “The challenge for me has been selecting activities that can be differentiated so that when my students are in front of me, the product might look different.” Many teachers, like Mrs. Glover, have been trying to give the students in class a true in class experience instead of just doing the same thing as online students. For example, Mrs. Glover explained that one day her URL students created a venn diagram online, while her students in class created a foldable containing the same information. 

Teachers not only struggle with creating different activities, but also keeping both sets of students engaged. Roswell High math teacher Derrick Burton said, “I don’t look into the camera as much because I am trying to make eye contact with the kids in the room. I am afraid that my online students will feel left out.” 

Teachers realize that the majority of students are still watching them teach from their computer, but it’s hard to focus on them as much as they used to, now that there are some students who are interacting with them in class. Mr. Burton said, “When I ask a question in class, the students in the room can always answer faster because they don’t have to unmute a microphone first.” The delay of the computer and in person interaction gives students in the classroom a better opportunity to respond and engage with the teachers, so teachers have to adjust to keep the online students engaged as well. 

Second grade teacher at Mountain Park Elementary Rima Granados said, “My students at home are working just as hard as my students in class. However, when everyone comes back I will definitely be relieved.” The teachers recognize that students are working hard at home so they are trying to adjust so the students at home still get the attention they need. 

Teachers are working hard to find the balance and create a beneficial learning environment for both groups of students, while schools transition back to face to face learning. This is not an easy task, but the teachers are trying to figure it out as fast as possible. Mrs. Glover said, “It takes extra time to prepare the activities for each day, but my students are worth it.”

To read more about how students are adjusting to the change gracie’s article

To read why it is worth it for everyone to return to school tara’s article