Summertime is over and as hard as that may be to believe, this means kids are going back to school. But “back to school” looks very different this year. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our everyday lives, schools are beginning to transition to remote education. This brings many challenges to everyone involved. Faculty and staff are adjusting their teaching methods to accommodate virtual learning and students who lack access to the technology needed to continue their education. Schooling today presents challenges not only to teachers and students but for parents as well.
Parents whose kids are now learning remotely are having to rethink their work structure and adapt to provide their children with the right learning instruction and environment. Parents are adjusting to remote working as it is impacting their livelihoods to assure their kids do not fall behind academically.
Challenges for Faculty and Staff
For most teachers, virtual teaching is a brand new experience as they navigate through this back to school experiment. Living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, balconies, patios, and even dining tables have turned into classrooms. Online software that has rarely been used in a school setting has become an everyday task and teacher-student relationships are certainly impacted. The connection between student and teacher will not be the same and to most teachers, this is one of the most important parts of teaching.
In a recent ABC News report, Kristen Robinson, a fourth-grade math teacher at Darnaby Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told “Nightline “you miss being in the classroom being able to look at all of them, being able to walk over to them, being able to say, ‘Hey, are you OK?’ or being able to give them a pat on the back”. This kind of interaction is essential for the traditional student-teacher relationship. Students, especially in early grades, are influenced by interactions that help spur their overall development. The lack of face-to-face contact has impacted learning and behavior.
Another problem has been the student’s ability to focus and not lose their attention. Because they are working from home, distractions are going to be high and teachers are getting creative in their efforts to keep concentration on the lesson. Tackling the technology learning curve for non-techie teachers has been challenging and managing a computer can be awkward. One option is for teachers to sign-in to multiple computers to write instructions while also seeing a grid of the students in attendance. Recording class so that students can review later has been essential as well. Teachers are modifying instruction for students to get the best out of our remote learning environment.
Challenges for Students
The current pandemic has exposed the digital divide in our society and has widened the gap between the have and the have-nots more than ever. Kids without laptops or desktops are now scrambling to get these tools to keep up with school work. Even students who have received technology supplies still have unreliable internet connections to worry about. To exhaust the situation, places with free wifi such as libraries, McDonald’s, or Starbucks are being closed to the public to reduce crowding and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Students who are new to virtual learning are also at times having to journey through the curriculum alone. Boys and Girls Club member and grade school teacher Krista B. says “many of my students live with parents and family members who had to keep working during the crisis in grocery stores, as health aides, or at fast food establishments”. With the lack of guidance from parents and teachers, students are in danger of falling further behind in an already difficult environment. Nore more than ever is when students need help to advance in their education.
Challenges for Parents
When it comes to back to school, teachers and students are not the only ones affected by COVID-19. Parents are now having to become “teachers” to their children in more ways than one, adding to their list of responsibilities outside of the home. Most parents have to work for a living and this brings challenges regardless if they can work from home or not.
Parents who are not fortunate enough to work from home have to either decide between going to work and leaving their kids alone or staying home and helping them with the school. Even parents who are available to work from home face challenges themselves. From time-management between their kid’s schoolwork and their own, navigating through online resources never used before, and even sharing devices such as laptops, desktops, and tablets to efficiently complete tasks.
Some parents feel as if the expectations from them are “too high”, many parents that are working from home reported “a high pressure of unrealistic expectations”. Parents are having more issues when it comes to their children’s education past just finding a babysitter.
High Rising Schools of Phoenix Resources
Our urban core schools are up to the challenge to teach students with distance learning options and technology resources. Part of our community of schools, the Arizona School of Arts is introducing 10 new software packages to enhance student learning across all fields. ASA has been challenged to teach their curriculum remotely while having enough Chromebooks for each student. In the face of these difficult times, ASA will continue to offer after-school programs and extracurricular activities for students.
Another example of our schools offering remote support is the Osborn School District. They will implement distance learning through October 2nd ensuring Chromebooks for each student. After October 12, 2020, parents and students can choose whether they would like to continue with remote learning or come back to face-to-face teaching if approved by the state and if health conditions are met by Osborn administration.
As we continue to transition to virtual learning, High Rising School of Phoenix schools will exceed your expectations by providing you and your children with the tools needed to ensure they get ahead in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world. Visit High Rising Schools of Phoenix for more information on how our school’s transition and adapt to remote learning during COVID-19.