By Aahana Khemani

Needless to say, lockdown has had a rippling effect on those from every walk of life. May it be an entrepreneur, influencer, musician, or doctor! Although, let’s zoom in and take a look at a teacher’s life in lockdown and during the pandemic. With online learning being something that millions of people worldwide are committing to, teachers would definitely have a lot of work and their own insights to share. Through this article, there’ll be two extremely knowledgeable and intellectual teachers from AIS itself, sharing their experiences with us. Mr. Henry Emerson, and Ms. Leslie Bartley!

While both of the teachers are extremely grateful to be meeting their students (even if it’s just online), they have had their fair share of challenges. Let’s take a look at these challenges! 

Mr. Henry informs, “There are a couple of big challenges with online teaching: the first, which everyone is facing, is just missing face to face time and being in the same room as other people.” Many teachers really value the social and interpersonal moments in the classroom that cannot be replicated and hence they are really missing that. “Another big challenge of being disconnected is not having a good sense of what students connect with or not.” It’s harder to tell if the students leave class with a better and more thorough understanding of the taught matter. 

Ms. Leslie feels like teaching online is a “WHOLE. NEW. WORLD!” Which can definitely be agreed with! She further mentions “I feel like I’m just up in students’ faces all the time.” 

I think we all can agree that we’ve all somewhat adjusted and tweaked our ways to fit in with  the new ways of online learning. However, everyone’s coping methods and mechanisms are quite unique. Let’s see what the teacher’s have to say about their coping mechanisms! 

Mr. Henry says, “The biggest thing with helping me overcome these challenges has really been changing my mindset. I am no longer comparing online discussions to the ones that we have in school because they simply can’t have the same excitement and feeling.” Nonetheless, that being said, Mr. Henry has been exploring new technology platforms such as Zoom, Screencastify, and Edublogs. “These are all helpful tools that I’d like to try to incorporate to classes even once we are back in person.”

Ms. Leslie reports, “Ha! Still working on this one.” However, I’m just trying to get students talking, interested.” 

Well, knowing the challenges and benefits of something is extremely important. It helps you analyze further. Now that we’ve talked about the challenges that teachers face during online teaching, what are some of the benefits?

Mr. Henry says, “A couple of benefits are not having to commute to work and being able to wear pajama pants! I’ve enjoyed working with my cat too!”

Ms. Leslie says, “Teachers and students are finding new ways to be creative. We talk more on hangouts. I have relationships with students who aren’t as outgoing in person but really blossom in online spaces.” 

It’s always important to reflect and see how some things have helped you and these teachers are prime and perfect paragons of that! While teacher’s may prompt us with this question often while writing reflections, let’s ask them how online teaching has helped them!

Mr. Henry prompts, “Something that I’ll take with me is just getting more familiar with technology platforms. There are lots of different platforms that teachers have been forced to learn. Ideally we’ll return to classroom learning and won’t have to rely on these tools quite as much. However, it will still be great to use some of these and apply them!”

Ms. Leslie mentions, “Shift, pivot, GO! Meaning, just keep going. Some days I miss students and teachers and school so much, but we all do. We have to keep trying, inventing, talking, laughing.” I personally think this is an extremely valuable lesson that all of us have learned through this experience, and that we should continue applying, even when this pandemic ends. 

In conclusion, we got an extremely insightful experience from a teacher’s eye and point of view. They’ve faced multiple challenges, but yet, bounce back up, which is a lesson that we all can adopt to help us get through these unothortodox times!

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