Teachers Express Their Opinions About Distance Learning

Patricia Branconier (Science)

How has the transition into distance learning affected the curriculum you plan to teach your students? (In-person labs, etc.)

“The curriculum has definitely changed because we have not been able to do in-person, hands-on learning labs that we usually do at school. I have also had to use more online resources because our book is old and does not have an ebook version, so I am trying a [new] source that we do have access to, CK-12.”

Has teaching online been a more enjoyable experience than teaching in-person?

“‘I really can not say it has been “enjoyable,” so I will say that “it is like my first year teaching all over again.”’

What do you expect your students to learn from this experience?

“I still expect my students to learn the required curriculum. Well, at least [enough for them] to walk away with a little more [knowledge] than last year. With [distance learning], I think they will learn more about patience and flexibility.. Mistakes may be made, but it is okay since we learn from them.”

Do mad scientists really exist? Are you one of them?

“I do think that they exist, but I am definitely not one. I guess I could be if I was stuck in a laboratory with no windows, in a basement working on some crazy lab ideas, for days upon days. Some of those mad scientists have given us some amazing findings and answers to science questions.”

If you attended Hogwarts, what house would you be sorted into?

“‘Gryffindor. I already have the scarf.”

Yan Zheng (Math)

Do you think it is easier to teach your students your standards for turning in work? How has the experience been a struggle?

“My class [is a] honors class, [so] I do not collect homework at all. The students are responsible to complete the homework assignments and check their answers with the solutions I provide on Canvas, so that is one less thing we all have to worry about. But, it took a few [tries] for the students to get used to the routine, and know where to find all the assignments and assessments.”

Do you feel like your students are actively learning through Distance Learning?

“​I believe most of my students are engaging and learning through the classes, and I can see improvement as we are heading into the second [grading period]of the semester. It has been very encouraging for me to see [the improvement from] where they first started to where they are currently.”

How has distance learning changed your outlook on teaching students?

“The distance learning experience has cemented my belief that if we hold the students to the highest standards and continue to encourage them and provide them with all the support [necessary], they can succeed under any circumstances.”

What is your favorite type of math operation to do?

“​I guess my favorite topics to teach in Math 3 Honors are Exponential and Log because there are just so many different ways to get to the answer mathematically.”

What is the weirdest thing that one of your students has done in class?

“Years back, I had a student who fell asleep in the class, and suddenly woke up and yelled. I guess they were dreaming about doing a math problem in the math class.”

Enid Santos (English)

Do you enjoy distance learning? Or, do you prefer in-person learning more?

“Both distance learning and in-person have their pros and cons, but I prefer in-person. I love having my students fill the seats in my classroom and simply the natural discussion that comes from working in a room together. I miss being around my students greatly!”

What circumstances did you need to adapt to in order to successfully teach online?

“The most challenging circumstance for me has been adjusting to the new Canvas platform introduced a few weeks before the school year began. However, I have slowly, but surely, come to enjoy working through Canvas. I am still learning a lot though!”

Do you think your new methods of teaching are working? How so?

“There has definitely been a large learning curve with these “new methods.” My goal has been to try to mimic what I do in the classroom with distance learning (DL). Forming DL groups has been useful and creating new routines for instruction in DL. Students seem more comfortable engaging more often, which is great!”

Why do English teachers in general always implement Bitmojis in their curriculum?

“I had never heard of Bitmojis before distance learning came into the picture! It has added a little bit of fun to the new things we are creating, but my Bitmoji definitely makes me look a lot younger than I really am!”

What is the best type of cheese?

“All cheese is the BEST! How can you choose just one?!”

Liz Orth (Spanish)

Do you think it is ideal to learn a new language online? How does it differ from being in-person?
“It is not ideal to learn online, but language can be learned creatively! In person, we have the option to greet each other, a handshake, a hug and even the Latin American way of two kisses on each cheek. But, the pandemic has taken that away from us. [However], learning a language can be fun in the virtual world. We have the ability to “travel” virtually, (take online field trips to museums) and continue to use the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking still via zoom. I miss the physical classroom of active students and the chit-chat that happens with students before and after class.”

Was it challenging to devise a new concept of teaching for this unforetold situation? How has the pandemic reshaped your way of thinking?

“It has completely changed my way of teaching. I have always been a teacher that used multimedia and the web as a way to make learning fun in my classroom. I always grouped my students in tables of four for communication and learning with a partner. I now switched to Zoom breakout rooms for [the full] virtual experience. In Spanish 1, we were transported to five Spanish-speaking countries to experience traditional dances, such as the Flamenco and the Tango. In Spanish 3, we were transported to the national parks in Chile, and my IB students attended a rock concert by Juanes!”

All in all, do you think this experience shapes your students in a positive manner? What are you hoping that they get from this?

“Just as we have as our school values, Wilson students are resilient! They have adapted and have shown responsibility by attending class meetings regularly and on time. They are learning that education can come in all forms. [They understand] that nothing is going to stop them from continuing to push forward to their goals and dreams of graduating!”

If you could go to any place in the world, where would you go and why?

“I love anywhere tropical with a beautiful clear beach. My toes in the sand and my sunglasses on. Hawaii is my favorite spot!”

Cats or dogs? Or both?

“I love kitties because I used to have one. But I am currently a corgi auntie to my sister’s adorable corgi, Ginger!”

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