The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Various Viewpoints on Virtual

With the new spike in cases, discussion regarding virtual and hybrid learning become more prevalent than ever. Read this article to find out what some teachers have to say about these schedules.
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The teachers of LM have scattered opinions on going back to hybrid: some absolutely love it, while others prefer the fully virtual set up. The schedules are much different within each other and very complex which have affected the teachers opinions on both schedules.  With the combination of different ideas and viewpoints about the format of learning during this COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with a difficult choice to make. 

For many teachers, the hybrid style is much preferred as they see it to be more personal and beneficial for many students. Global Studies and AP Psychology teacher, Carla Rehak said, “I really enjoyed getting to see you all in person and I think LM did an amazing job at keeping us safe and following all the guidelines.” It’s important to acknowledge and follow CDC guidelines during the time of this pandemic. It’s even more important for students and faculty to feel safe. Spanish teacher, Señora Lauren Leveque had similar feelings:

“From a teaching point of view, I prefer the hybrid schedule because, for certain students, school is a safe place and a place where they can focus best. For me, going into school is a saving grace, working at home is too distracting. My heart truly breaks for students who struggle with virtual learning. Although I prefer the hybrid schedule for students, it is tough for me to teach both virtual students and in-person students simultaneously. I feel like I am ignoring one group of kids or the other.  Without a doubt, I appreciate all that LM is doing to follow the guidelines and keep us all safe.”

After listening to these voices in support of the hybridized learning style, it’s interesting and important to understand the counterpoints. 

Many other teachers are in opposition of the hybrid style of learning because of the difficult and limited options to maximize teaching and engagement. Math teacher, Kevin Grugan, said,

“The idea of hybrid was good, but I don’t think it ended up turning out as much as we hoped. The reason is because when students come into class, I can’t really have them engaged or in groups. They can’t go to the board or sit side by side due to the covid restrictions. I still need to project what I am doing on the board at home and to the students in the building. They are in school still looking at the same thing they would look at at home. I really like the virtual schedule as everyone is in their own set up and comfortable in the best learning environment for them. Working together is really difficult with both platforms especially in breakout rooms. In hybrid, there is only five minutes which is tough for teachers getting ready for the next class and for students to be off their screens to be ready for the next class. Virtual is easier to talk to students who need help due to more lunch and learn. There is more time to check in with students before or after class with the bigger breaks, which is important as a math teacher or not. Virtual feels better and more efficient of a schedule.” 

With the alternate style of group activities, specific teaching purposes aren’t reached. Having students both online and in person leads to greater incohesiveness causing increased difficulties and stress for teachers. English teacher Isabelle Wozniak shared similar difficulties. She said that although she enjoyed the hybrid format because interactions with students were better and more personal, for students at home, it isn’t an easy schedule and with students getting tired from too much screen time, good focus is hard to achieve. “Although I like hybrid, virtual has its benefits. Teaching both platforms, virtual and in person, was hard to manage to keep both interacting and my attention pulled in both directions.” It’s important to factor in the lifestyles of the students and teachers  when coming to a final decision. The goal of school seems tethered with the hybrid style of teaching, leading to positive and negative outcomes for both choices. 

Although the subject the educator teaches is very critical in choosing which schedule is preferred, many teachers have come to an agreement in regards to their final decision. During the time of the pandemic, many everyday activities have had to be modified leading to extra efforts from everyone to make things run smoothly. As for the decision, it was decided for high school students to continue with the fully virtual schedule. With this choice being made, teachers’ lives have been made easier and their classes more beneficial for their students. Most importantly, the safety of all students and faculty are maximized due to the lack of contact and exposure. 

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