What Teachers Want Students to Know: Distance Learning

Madeleine Martin

Without a doubt, distance learning has presented a new set of obstacles and challenges. English class from your bedroom just isn’t the same as in a classroom. Students don’t have the connections, questions and discussions that happen in person, and many students have felt greater amounts of stress and worry in recent months. In an effort to connect and effectively teach students, teachers have been pulled every which way with little support. Under the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19, there has never been higher pressure on educators to guide and support students and families. With cases rising everyday and distance learning being the safest long term solution, here are four things teachers need you to know:

          1. Teachers are going through a lot too.

Mr. Larkey, a 9th grade social science teacher at Southwest,  said that teachers “feel your pain, we are experiencing our own pains which are in some ways similar to your own, we too feel a sense of loss, we feel anxiety, we too feel alone. The number one reason all of us got into teaching is that we enjoy our time with the students.” It’s a difficult time to work and learn, but those feelings are not exempt from teachers. 

          2. Participation can only better your experience.

Silence is the greatest enemy during distance learning. “I just never realized how much I rely as a teacher on reading the energy of the room to sense how things are going and how much it drains me when I can’t see that,” says English 9 teacher Ms. Vujovich, “I’d want students to know that I love it when I can see their faces, even for a moment, and hear their voices sharing in class!” Without participation, we lose the crucial connection between learning and understanding, and teachers rely on feedback more than you think. Nobody likes being in the awkward breakout room. Consider participating in the next discussion your class has, because it might not be as bad as you think.

          3. Go outside and take a break.

A big concern as lockdowns continue is staying active, and taking time to be out of your workspace. One of the best things you can do is spend time outside, go see the Sun and get moving.  Ms. Bungert, AVID and APUSH teacher, suggests that you “take a walk everyday even if it’s cold, to limit your time sitting down and at a screen.” The air might be getting colder, but it will surely make you more awake and ready for your next class.

          4. Teachers want to help you!

Ask any of your teachers why they love teaching and odds are that they say it’s because they love helping students. This isn’t an occasion anyone could’ve planned for, and teachers realize that. Southwest’s digital arts teacher, Ms. Spears says, “I just want my students to know that I care, and that I am here with them creating change together.” This message is a universal feeling in the Southwest community. There are countless people you can lean on for support; all you have to do is ask.