We are living in a world where each day, school is unpredictable. Students could be in school one day, and in a split second be sent home to quarantine. A world where if the schools all need to shut down because of a pandemic, they will. For many, online education is hard, and for some, it is not an option due to no internet access. The biggest question for people is how are they going to get the education they deserve when it might not even be a choice for them.
Some people have been asking what the schools would look like if we got shut down and what the teachers would do if it came to that again. The school was already shut down for the first time in the middle of March. When the school was shut down, it was not for two weeks like most people thought it would be, it was for more than two months. Teachers had to teach students from their homes, and they had to communicate with them using an online resource called Zoom. If teachers could not get a hold of their students on Zoom, the teacher would have to call the student’s house, or they would have to find other ways to communicate with them.
If school closes again, Tami Jo, the high school secretary, states, “some teachers will choose to teach remotely, but other teachers may still choose to come into the building if that is easier for them.” For most teachers at this point, they need to be flexible and overcome the pandemic circumstances. Tracy Brunton, who is an Ag teacher at Potosi, stated; “if the school closes down, many of the hands-on classes like shop and agriculture will suffer because we would not be able to do those. We can have the kids take notes and learn that way, but it would not be the same.”
Teachers all have different perspectives on how they are going to teach each student. Every student has their own needs, and their needs have to be met in several different ways. This makes the teachers have to think outside of the box when it comes to teaching. Teachers who are in the building have to accommodate the students they do not see everyday. It may be by calling the students on their cell phones to make sure they are on Zoom, or sometimes teachers will make house calls to students and take them homework to complete.
There are also consequences if students do not go online and attend their classes at the set times. Tami Jo, as the secretary, gets many phone calls a day from teachers telling her the students are not on Zoom and they are not participating in the class. Tami Jo stated “If students are not on zoom, then they will be marked absent.” At some point. Mr. Uppena, the school principal, will intervene and get the parents of the student involved. Regardless of what is happening, if you are at home and are quarantined, then you are going to be on Zoom. Some students are taking full advantage of being quarantined because some think if they are supposed to do school from home, then they do not need to turn their camera or sound on. When this happens, sometimes students are logging into class, but they are either sleeping or doing something else while their Zoom is up. Brunton stated, “I understand that some kids don’t like to have them on, but I would probably want them on at least while we are taking notes online. If we are just having a work day, that wouldn’t matter to me as much, but I would probably do a random check-in to make sure they are still there and working.”
The pandemic we have been experiencing has hurt how students learn, as well as teachers changing the way they teach, interact with students, and also how students respond to teachers. Students getting their homework done and assignments handed in on time has been a struggle with online learning, so teachers are hoping the school remains open and most of the students can come face to face for the school year. Online learning does not help art classes, music classes, gym, or any tech ed class that needs hands-on instruction for students. Students, as well as teachers, are waiting for the day the pandemic is over and school days can go back to normal. A sense of normal is something we all need right now.