Teachers transition to online learning

Olivia C., Features Editor

The Coronavirus pandemic forced teachers and students to transition into online learning for the remainder of the 2020 school year. 


Although students have adjusted to this new form of learning, teachers are having an equally unfamiliar experience. They have had to learn to teach using websites such as: Zoom, Google Meets, EdPuzzle, and Screencastify. 


“I have been recording lessons, having live meetings on fridays. I’ve also started with live recorded lessons and I try to touch base with students,” said business teacher Sanrda Braun. 


Many lessons or topics are taught the same way as they would be in school, just on different platforms. Zoom or Google meetings are intended to feel as if both the students and teachers are in the class environment. However, teachers still have difficulties with this. 


“It is very difficult to teach online. The most difficult part is not being able to see the students as I deliver the material, and not [knowing] if they understand it or not by the looks on their faces,” said Chemistry teacher John O’Donnell. 


Teachers have also struggled with the lack of communication that they once shared with their students.


“ I teach an elective, so the students take the class because they are interested in the subject matter. I really miss some amazing feedback from the students in person. I am getting some great feedback online from some of their assignments, but I am a people person, it’s in my nature, so I really miss that entire aspect of teaching,” said Braun. 


Online learning has prompted teachers to change their methods of teaching or how their lessons are planned, as well. 


“With Chemistry being such a sequential course, it is important that the students understand initial concepts in a topic in order for them to understand future concepts in the topic. Because of this, I teach at a much slower pace than I would in the classroom,” said O’Donnell.


Teachers are understanding of the challenges everyone is facing at home, whether they are struggling to grasp the material from online school or dealing with personal issues.


“ I believe that some students are struggling with this method of learning, mostly because of the lack of structure. In school, students need to be in a class at a certain time, stay for a certain time, then move on to the next class. Plus, student to student interaction, socialization, is very important,” said O’Donnell.


This unique time has been difficult for the entire Commack community. Teachers are overwhelmed, just as many students are. 


“I find there are times that I sit at my computer for more than half the day, between helping my own kids, doing lessons and grading. I am still trying to find a more healthy balance,” said Braun.


Due to the circumstances, administrators have even given every Wednesday as a day where no work is due or assigned. 


“[Catch up Wednesdays] are a time to catch up on previous work, take a breath and focus on what is ahead,” said O’Donnell. 


All of the educators are working to improve the online learning environment everyday, such as having Wednesdays off or implementing new grading systems. However, it is extremely different from being in the classroom. 


“I have a tremendous love for what I do and the young adults at Commack High School is why I love what I do. Not being able to see them is really hard on me, it’s like I keep feeling something is missing in my day and I know it’s the students,” said Braun.  


Teachers and students alike have adjusted to online learning. School will be very different this coming fall, when we are hopefully back in school.


“The one aspect I do not miss [about going to school] is waking up at 5:15 every morning,” said O’Donnell. 🔳