Teaching In The New Age


John Werner

It’s a well known fact that Covid-19 has greatly affected students world-wide; many are struggling more now than ever before. According to a study conducted by the National Education Association, “58% of students say they were doing well academically before the virus; only 32% believe they are doing well currently.”

Personally, I have seen numerous articles about Covid’s effect on student learning in the past couple of months, but barely any about its effect on the teachers. With uncharted challenges arising, finding a way for teachers to connect with their students was, and still is, proving to be difficult. To better understand the obstacles teachers face, I interviewed a couple of our own at Ipswich High School.

Remote learning has had a diverse impact on teachers and students alike, with some students preferring to learn from home while their teacher would prefer to deliver information in person or vise versa. Mr. Ames, a social science teacher at IHS notes that “This year is much harder.” His main reason being that “helping fully remote students” is far more arduous than in-school students. Another Ipswich teacher from the math department, Ms. Werner recounts a similar experience, stating that she finds it “harder to connect with students and more difficult to know whether they understand what you are teaching.” She blames this challenge partly on the fact that she is not able to “overhear student conversations” while in class.

Although some students have noticed little to no change in difficulty, those who are struggling with adaption to online learning need longer to understand the material. This is why it was no surprise when during the interview, Mr. Ames revealed that “AP and College prep classes are further behind this year” than most previous years.

Will Baise, an Ipswich senior, points out that he “noticed a difference in teaching styles, but that comes with the territory of hybrid learning.” He goes on to say, “I think the changes have been fine and not positive or negative.”

The change in teaching style was not as kind to another Ipswich senior currently enrolled in 5 AP courses this year alone, Domenic Morello. Domenic explains that “teachers have seemed more drained and confused than in years past,” and that “Unfortunately some of that carries over into their teaching, but you can tell some are just barely making it through each day.” His suggestion is that teachers communicate with each other and students to obtain “some form of standardization in teaching practices.”

Global Online Academy suggests that teachers “make time to focus on remote students. Leaving some time at the end of class … can ensure their questions are answered and they feel cared for.” Luckily, all of the Ipswich teachers that I’ve had have made sure there were no unanswered questions at the end of class, but I think this is a crucial part of a successful hybrid learning environment.

Teachers have arguably one of the most important jobs in the world, so when disaster strikes and obstacles are put in the way, there is a lot of pressure on them to adapt quickly. Students and teachers alike are struggling through this uncharted territory, and supporting each other is more important now than ever.