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Teachers juggle online and in-person students

Computer teacher Ron Schnell talks with an online student while the rest of his cybersecurity class works in early November.
                                                        SKYLAR HARRIS | Alpha-Omega
Computer teacher Ron Schnell talks with an online student while the rest of his cybersecurity class works in early November. “This year, like most, my classes are set up to be ‘online’ so students can move at their own pace. However, the (digital information technology) class is very challenging when I’m doing directed instruction. For this class, I would prefer it to be all online or all faceto-face. I can’t imagine what teachers who don’t have a full computer lab are doing,” he said.

SNN Staff Writer

Learning this year at Lakewood High School is very different on both sides of the screen. Students in classrooms interact with their teachers and peers, wearing masks and socially distancing, while online students at home sit in a room – some even in their beds - for hours staring at a computer.

Teachers and students are having mixed feelings when it comes to simultaneously learning.

“I think in-school is okay. I get more one-on-one time with my teachers,” said freshman Demtryus Luther, a faceto-face student.

“Sometimes it’s 50/50… At times I wish to be at school where I can ask for help and get it easier, but I know it’s safer at home where you’re not surrounded by many different people throughout the day,” said senior Xiomaura Richardson, an online student.

Some teachers are frustrated with the ongoing technology problems, including the internet disconnecting at home and school. They complain about having to work twice as hard, planning two different lessons and dealing with missing work.

“I understand why students are staying home, but in some of my classes, it is hard to gauge if they are actually learning or just joining the meeting and then tuning out the lesson,” English teacher Elizabeth Halstead said.

Art teacher Sandra Bourne said 2-D art in particular is difficult to teach simultaneously.

“When you’re showing somebody a technique, you got to be right beside them. It’s hands-on so it’s tough to teach art simultaneously,” she said.

Junior Layla Frazier said learning from home has been difficult for her.

“I hate it with a burning passion. I’m not learning. (The teachers) talk in and out of the screen, and they expect us to do work with nothing to interact with. It’s toxic,” Frazier said.

Parents of online students also worry about their kids.

“The parents are frustrated because their children are not getting everything they should, and they are also helping those at home with the technological glitches that always arise,” teacher union president Nancy Velardi said.

Some students and teachers feel as if the start of school was rushed and that students shouldn’t be in school right now.

“To be honest, I don’t think there is any way that they should have made high school students come back to school right now. We have the technology to do the online learning. I think that this country is showing us how they can care less if people die,” digital design teacher Anthony Snead said.

Despite the worries, students and teachers are trying to make the best of the situation and are adjusting well and making progress.

“I think the best way to keep online students engaged is to create activities that require active participation; it should be as active as being in class with back and forth from the teacher and other students,” assistant principal Joey Serra III said.