Schools and districts all around the world are being shut down due to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, parents and teachers are left with questions as to how the districts will continue with their education. Due to the sudden shutdown, districts have decided to continue their education by teaching online. In Katy ISD’s case, they also plan to pursue this action with the help of applications such as Canvas and Zoom. As for teachers such as AP World History teacher Jadi Williams and chemistry teacher Meredith Lopez, the switch from teaching in person into teaching online has been challenging for them.
“Switching to online teaching has made it more difficult for my students because I am not available to give them immediate feedback, so they can’t move forward until I have responded to their questions and that prevents them from maximizing their study time,” said Lopez.
Traditional teaching has an element that defines it from any other type of teaching and that is the face-to-face element with your peers and teachers that makes it feel more authentic than online learning. Although studies from the SRI International for the US Department of Education show that online learners perform slightly better than students in traditional face-to-face classrooms, teachers like Lopez feel that some students will struggle with learning. Williams and Lopez are aware of this, so they hope to still provide assessments and answer questions to ensure their students are learning.
“I believe we as teachers can still provide students with high-quality lessons through technology,” said Williams. “Learning can be more interactive or at your own pace with online lessons.”
The recent adaptation to online teaching has changed the curriculum for many subjects in school. This changes the topics and now teachers have to figure out how to teach in different ways that are just as efficient as teaching in person. Luckily, Lopez’s PreAP chemistry class is one of the few classes that did not get as affected as other classes because it is a flipped classroom, which means that the students are already learning online with videos online about the subject. Unfortunately, most classes do not use a flipped classroom, so now classes such as WHAP are at a disadvantage.
“For AP World History, we lost the last three units because CollegeBoard did not want the students to be tested over them. So we will still touch on those units to fulfill the TEKS requirements, but after that we will begin reviewing for the AP Exam as soon as possible,” said Williams.
Take time to rest between classwork and make sure to eat healthy meals and snacks, drink plenty of water, and try and get some exercise somewhere to help the blood flow to your brain. Most importantly, if you feel that you are really struggling, talk to your parents, friends, teachers, and ask for help. Stop the school work and take care of your mental health. The world is going through a tough time right now, and all of these changes can certainly overwhelm a person. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone around the world, and Lopez and Williams both acknowledge the toll that this could have on a person’s life. They urge students to stay healthy and be mentally strong in these troubling times.
“There is nothing more important than health and well-being, so take care of yourself,” said Lopez.