COVID-19 shook the world, hogged the headlines, and forced schools around the world to pause all in-person learning. Seemingly overnight, students were torn away from their teachers and forced to learn from home. Since most classes were not designed for online learning, teachers and students faced a plethora of challenges during this difficult transition.
Student-teacher connection was at an all-time low and proved to be a major issue for those involved. An article by XQ Institute from May states that “94% of parents surveyed in the Los Angeles area felt more regular contact with their child’s teacher would be helpful, and 91% of parents felt the same way regarding access to school counselors.” Most courses, notably the more technical ones, rely heavily on in-person instruction and guidance. When teachers were suddenly separated from their students, their options became limited and teaching became a struggle. They could no longer deliver lessons efficiently which, unfortunately, took a toll on their student’s learning outcomes.
As many students in technically rigorous courses do not have access to the required equipment, its absence became quite noticeable during the transition. The lack of proper equipment and facilities proved to be an undeniable obstacle for both teachers and students. Classes such as Band, Theatre, Robotics, and Tech Ed rely heavily on resources provided by the school. Without proper resources, these classes were unable to be delivered to their usual standard. Although some teachers managed to find workarounds after extensive brainstorming, others were not as fortunate. Regardless, classes during the beginning stages of the pandemic were insufficient.
External factors only added fuel to the flames. New York Times explains how students faced challenges such as “getting easily distracted” and “not having reliable internet” when learning from home. The assumption that everyone has access to stable internet connection or sufficient technology lead to many difficulties for those who lack these necessities for remote learning. While classrooms are designed with education in mind, houses are typically not. Many found it hard to integrate the classroom into their homes as many often separate the two. It became hard for students to be engaged in the material as watching pre-recorded lessons or reading pages at home seemingly encouraged distracted behaviour.
Like many other schools, Heritage Woods has transitioned from the remote learning model to the hybrid learning model. Even so, some issues from the virtual learning era have followed, while new issues have formed. It is important for everyone to be mindful of these issues and their consequences so that students can receive the necessary education needed for success.
Written by Harper Kim