Online learning: The teacher perspective

Image via Education Northwest

Image via Education Northwest

Due to the pandemic, education has looked very different during the 2020-21 school year. Instead of doing the traditional face-to-face school, most students and teachers have to do it virtually. Because of this new learning environment, many teachers have to explore and figure out ways they can carry out their lessons without having students get off track.


Technology is a really hard thing for teachers to deal, since this virtual space is new to a lot of teachers. It would be better for teachers to be able to refocus on the teaching of the students, rather than the latest technology. If one system or part doesn’t work, you’ll have to have a backup plan or a lot of things could go downhill. The problem here is not the amount of work or how the lessons are being delivered. 


A very big advantage is the tools the internet provides for teachers. Tools they’ve never heard of or knew they had like Desmos, NoRedInk, online textbooks and videosI think there is an extreme advantage in resources to distance learning that we never knew we had. There are so many amazing tools on the internet that teachers are learning about and even developing themselves to help distance learning,” Geometry teacher Maxwell Beckhard stated. 


A very big advantage is the chat features. Every student can say something without feeling as if their teacher is ignoring them. Their messages will be read and it would be easier for teachers to keep up with their questions. Teachers also don’t have to always call on people since they can just easily type it in the chat without unmuting their mics. Most of the time, if students refuse to ask the question in public, they can privately chat with the teacher so that they feel more comfortable and don’t have to feel skeptical about their questions.

Image result for teacher isolation online
Image via Higher Education Revolution

One of the many struggles teachers face is building relationships with students. Since everything is virtual, it’s been harder for teachers to figure out whether students are actually getting the lesson, especially challenging ones. Most students choose to keep their cameras off and refuse to ask for help if needed, which makes it more difficult. Ideally, teachers would be able to tell if students are also paying attention if their cameras were all turned on, but Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU) doesn’t allow you to see more than five people, meaning it would still be hard for teachers to tell whether the rest of the class is doing fine or not.


Chemistry teacher Emily Texdahl explained some of the hardships she has faced with being disconnected from students, I think it can be more challenging to build relationships. That said, I still feel that I’ve gotten to know a lot of students pretty well! It’s also hard not seeing students’ faces while I’m teaching a challenging topic. There are lots of ways to virtually assess whether students are getting it, but nothing is easier or faster than reading facial expressions! I also think it can be hard to keep some students on task who are more easily distracted.” She also described how she worries about her students overall well-being and mental health. 

Image via Wyzant

Another disadvantage of this school year is that many teachers don’t know how they should start new lessons, since they don’t know how most students dealt with the last few months of school in 2019-2020. Students have learning gaps from the spring of their previous school year, and are relying on this year to fill things in. Teachers don’t know if students have learned the content, or even if some students truly went back to school after quarantine started. 


There are many disadvantages and things holding them back, but they still continue to try and teach those things along the way.  Teachers also have a lot of things to stress about, just like students. They have to plan their lessons weeks before and try them or even have last minute lessons ready in case some things haven’t been taught. Even though a lot of teachers seem to give a lot of work, they are just trying to help you practice more for future lessons. You may feel stressed, but we’re all here to help each other get through!