By Karina Aronson
Across the nation, both teachers and students stare into computer screens for hours on end, the blue light illuminating their faces. Students and teachers, alike, sit at desks in front of computers in offices, living rooms, or bedrooms. Like many other schools in the United States, the Pinewood community has had to adapt to this new life of distance learning, which blends work and home life together. Many teachers, who have never had to teach remotely, are adjusting to the new style of teaching.
First, students and teachers are both finding that distance learning mashes school life and home life together. Art teacher Caitlin Miller mentioned that she’s been trying to seperate work and home life, but to do avail.
“Distance learning means that work and life now flow together, even when I try to separate them. [My son] keeps crashing my zoom meetings! My “office” is in the kitchen, so it can be hard to completely isolate myself from my family,” said Miller.
A positive adjustment of distance learning is the lack of commute, allowing both teachers and students extra sleep, something many people are thankful for. Writing teacher Tom Carter and Miller were enthusiastic about this, stating that sleeping a bit longer was one of their favorite things about the remote learning program.
Despite the added sleep bonus, many teachers miss the Pinewood atmosphere and sense of community.
“While I miss teaching students “in the room,” most of all, I miss the other interactions that being in school supported. Walking with peers down the hallways, talking about lesson plans. Punning with staff about current events. Cheering students on as they played basketball during breaks and after school,” Carter said.
Furthermore, lots of students and teachers say that the learning atmosphere is quite different in Zoom compared to the classroom. For many, Zoom limits the social interactions that might otherwise be found in a classroom setting.
“While I appreciate the fact that Zoom has enabled us to keep our classes going in these difficult times, the hardest thing about distance learning has been replacing a room full of wonderfully vibrant students with a computer screen of their tiny one-dimensional digital likenesses,” Carter said.
Miller said that the lack of face time, which led to the inability to give one on one feedback as students were working on their art was hard for her.
While the sense of community and social interactions are missed, PE teacher Whitney Wood believes distance learning has helped everyone work together.
“We ( teachers, students, administration) had never had to do anything like this before. We have all been working together to make this work. I think everyone has been doing a great job,” Wood said.