The Challenges of Teaching in 2020


Mr. Perez prepares for teaching his global class virtually and in-person simultaneously.

Alexandra Fennelly

     When you walk into a classroom this year you’ll probably see teachers staring at three computer screens trying to get responses from students, having the wifi struggle to support every class at the same time, going back and forth to help students online and in-class, all while trying to complete a lesson in a shortened period. 

     This school year has been a big change for everyone. Some students go to school every other day while some are  fully remote. From having to wear a mask all day in school, staying six feet away from your friends, doing school online, and having to follow arrows in the hallways, these changes greatly affect our learning environment, but also how the teachers have to plan and deliver their lessons. 

     Teachers need to learn new ways of delivering the academic curriculum electronically, while also attempting to meet the social and emotional needs of students. 

     Math teacher Mr.Isgro explained how he grew up learning math with a pen and paper, so now doing it online is a challenge.

English teacher Mrs. DiFrietus said, “Choosing the right platform to showcase lessons has been difficult.” She has always been advanced in technology which is working to her advantage, but evaluating which method of learning is most effective for the students both at home and online is challenging. 

Mrs. DiFrietus also described this new hybrid style of teaching with limited in-person contact and “black Google Meet screens” as “lonely and isolating” for everyone. 

    Librarian Ms.Spota expressed her concerns about students “getting the emotional and educational support they need.” The administrators and teachers have been brainstorming ways to meet these needs for the student body. 

      Math teacher Mrs. Barrett is teaching remotely from home this year. Her experience is a little different because she teaches remotely to all of her students every day. She expressed how this school year has changed a lot. Her lessons are totally different without seeing her students face to face. There are struggles of relying on virtual instruction to learn: “Some of my favorite lessons are ones where students are working together and collaborating to problem solve and there’s just only so much of that which can be done this year while students are required to stay 6 feet apart.”

     This school year is also pushing the limits of curriculum deadlines with periods being shortened and teachers frequently dealing with technical difficulties.  “Finishing the curriculum will be a challenge,” as Mrs.Barrett said, but teachers are looking at it in a hopeful way.  “I don’t like this new way of teaching, but I understand it’s the best way to keep everyone safe.”   

Mrs. DiFrietus added, ”English is skills-based though, so I am fortunate enough to have the room to cut out some material and delve deeper into the material that I do cover.” 

Ms. Spota teaches AP Research, a new course this year. She is uncertain of how this curriculum will be affected by the online or hybrid learning this year as she has no other years to base it off of, but making sure students are prepared for the AP Exams in May and that Capstone students finish their performance tasks will definitely create challenges. . 

     Reminiscing on previous school years reminds us of what we miss of our old lives at school. As Mr. Isgro said, “I miss the pairs of student desks so you always had someone to talk quietly with if you didn’t want to talk in front of the whole class, I miss kids coming in for extra help, I miss seeing kids smile, I miss scavenger hunts where students could physically move around the room.” 

Mrs. DiFrietus said,  “I miss seeing faces! I feel like I don’t know my students and even in the hallway- there is no recognition.” 

Even the little things that we probably never thought we’d miss are part of a longing for a return to our old normal.  “I even miss my almost hour-long commute to work,” said Mrs.Barrett. 

Whatever you miss about this school year, just know that everyone is struggling in some way, teachers and students alike, but we’ll get through this together.