A student doing virtual learning from home. The student is taking notes during Zoom. (Haley Lewis)
A student doing virtual learning from home. The student is taking notes during Zoom.

Haley Lewis

Zoom: A crazy mess and lots of stress

Both teachers and students at CHS are trying to make things work throughout this new online learning experience

October 1, 2020

Zoom has caused lots of anxiety for everyone, especially teachers and students. We have all faced one problem of a sort regarding Zoom. Whether that be technical difficulties or Zoom bombs. Around 90% of the teachers and students who were interviewed said they faced some sort of Zoom issue. Teachers and students alike have faced many challenges throughout these trying times with virtual learning. However, what is each of these roles going through in their day to day lives?

Eric Hahn, a new Clayton History teacher, faced many issues through Zoom. It was his first day of school and he had to cancel class 2 days in a row due to Zoom complications. He said “Its a teachers worst nightmare to miss the first day of class. And a second nightmare missing the next day too.” Just imagine how terrible it would be for you moving into a new school district and on your first couple days of class you have to cancel. Teaching online makes it harder for students to stay engaged and have all the information they need. As Eric Hahn said, “We can’t cover as much material.”

He also added that he “like(s) to have fun in class,” and that it’s been harder to make the class more interesting for everyone and more interactive with everything being all virtual now.

Victoria Ferris, a CHS Spanish teacher, feels like she’s not teaching because most students are muted and don’t turn on their cameras, “In a language class, I really count on being able to see and hear the students react and participate.”

Sean Rochester, an English teacher at CHS had a lot to say about this as well. He had many glitches in the zoom, including a recent one while attempting to show a video. ” I wanted to show some movie trailers…. Within a minute I had students saying they were glitchy and lagging”.

It’s forcing teachers to evaluate what their priorities are… it’s forcing us to experiment.

— Sean Rochester

Teachers during online learning have to change most of their syllabus. “I think it’s forcing teachers to evaluate what their priorities are… it’s forcing us to experiment,” Rochester said, “I had to entirely change my opening unit for my freshman curriculum” He also added that online learning is “Psychologically and emotionally draining”. Rochester said that “It’s not as rich of an experience.”

Online learning has deprived many students and teachers alike of the social aspects of learning. “we lose a sense of community,” Rochester said. Many teachers have said throughout this online experience that they don’t get the connection they normally do with their students. Rochester said, “I don’t feel as close to my students as I usually do.”

What are some things we can do to help many of these tech problems we are facing?

Well for one some teachers don’t have a very good understanding of the online tools we are now using. Rochester said that “I think the district would have been better served if they had carved out more devoted time to Tech training.” Rochester added that Mr. Gladstone is the only one who can help out teachers with tech problems. He also wanted more time to experiment with zoom, and google meet but because of these crazy circumstances, there wasn’t quite enough time to work on this. “ I feel bad that I’m not teaching to my full capability,” Rochester said. “It’s kinda sad. We are tactile people .”

In addition, Patrick Mullen, a World Language teacher at CHS said in a survey that there was “Internet lag on my end and on students’ end and people dropping in and out of class.” These are all the problems that the teachers face regarding Zoom.

But what about the students?

Most of the students who were interviewed said they had a problem with Zoom. None of the students who were interviewed loved online learning, but one said “I like aspects of it.”

Elle Winnings said that she experienced a Zoom bomb in one of her classes. She said that “it was weird, there were yelling voices and then, the teacher had to remove us.”

The Zoom bomb interrupted their class causing it to affect others’ learning.

Margaret Thompson, a freshman at Clayton, said that in her classes she got kicked out of a few meetings, and had to come back in. She also said that she doesn’t like the zoom app overall.

“Sometimes it would say loading or late,” She also added it “Does not affect learning but makes stress which affects learning.”

Madeline Hellwig said she is getting “a lot of homework” and she feels like it was more homework then they had when at school. Madeline also mentioned that her, “Zoom was either disconnected or wasn’t working and was lagging on other devices, but that only happened sometimes so most of the time it was ok. “You don’t get that personal connection with your teachers…sometimes it feels like you can’t get any questions answered,” She said as well.

All the students who were interviewed mentioned breakout rooms, all of them said the same thing about them. That they are “awkward.”

“Some were fine because I knew some people in there,” Elle Winnings said, “but others were really awkward because everyone had their camera and mic off.”

Due to school closure, Clayton High School students have now began online school. (Ella Cuneo)

One way these students said to make them more comfortable in talking and interacting with people in the breakout rooms was for the teachers to send out a survey to the students.

About who they would feel comfortable talking or working within the breakout rooms. Students also said they get really nervous when a teacher starts randomly calling on students to answer a question and that they wished they would “call on people less.”

Overall students have been facing lots of issues regarding zoom.

Teachers and students have experienced many challenges throughout this process of online learning through Zoom. We have had to change our routines and go to a whole new normal. This has changed us all. It has taught us to be more flexible and to be able to try new things.

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