Before students returned to in-person school, teachers had the choice to teach fully in-person, fully virtual or both at the same time. If teachers decided to teach both in-person and virtually, they had to alter their teaching in a way to cater to both students’ schedules.
Although a difficult task, some teachers have found a way to balance teaching in-person and virtual and made necessary changes so that students can have the best school experience possible.
English teacher Ms. Slagle explained that teaching both schedules balances each other out. “Because I see virtual students twice a week, we have on-going discussions and work that feels ‘normal’ for this school year, but because I see in-person kids ‘live’ and for a much longer period of time, we have more in-depth discussions and work we can do together. We are all working on the same stuff, but I’ve modified it depending on where they are,” Slagle says.
For math teacher Mr. Stovall, the schedule works well for him. “I keep my in-person and virtual lessons identical, so students are getting equal instruction no matter which schedule they choose,” Stovall says. “Since I only meet with in-person students once per week, I have been keeping my direct instruction to about 30 minutes. Then providing them the rest of the time to work on their weekly tasks. This matches up with virtual classes perfectly.”
Social studies teacher Mr. Holman finds teaching both in-person and online a difficult task. “Because the district isn’t allowing us to teach students in-person and virtually at the same time, it does add a significant amount to my teaching load,” Holman said. “Rather than planning during my planning period, most of it is spent getting my virtual students caught up with the work we’ve been doing in class. After school I have Track and Field practice so I generally do my planning after five each day.”
Math teacher Mr. Jury states that he has to alter his plan for virtual students which “cheapens the experience for virtual learners,” he said.
Though this situation has been working well for some teachers and presented difficulties for others, there is one thing all teachers can agree on: being able to see their students in-person and having more engagement in the classroom is worth the extra workload.
“It has been difficult but I enjoy seeing my in-person students and I feel far more at home teaching in my actual classroom,” Holman said.
“These ninth graders will always be the students I taught during the pandemic, whether online or in-person, and that connection has special meaning, even if I will still not recognize a few of them when I meet them in-person in the fall. I look forward to seeing them in the halls too!” Slagle said.