Teachers are experiencing difficulties amid changes caused by COVID-19


Math teacher Jennifer Goldin sits in her dining room, which has become her office amid teaching in the pandemic. All of her supplies are from her own home.

The way students and teachers have been trying to keep school ongoing amid a pandemic is an evolving process. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way students receive education, and has even more drastically changed the way that teachers do their jobs.

“I think the frustration (about online school) just comes from the lack of a clear plan and how frequently things have changed,” Latin teacher Parker Jackson said. “Some of that can’t be avoided with things like the metrics on the disease, but a lot of it could have been avoided had Guilford County started preparing earlier, because they waited until we were practically ready to come back to school to make a lot of these calls. I feel like nobody was prepared for any of this, and so we’ve all just been trying to pick up the pieces.”

Teachers believe their career has changed from a career that is more hands-on, to something that is distant and less interactive, especially concerning their interactions with students and parents.

“My career has become less about connecting with students and exposing them to what I think is an interesting subject, and it has honestly become more about tech support,” Jackson said.

My career has become less about connecting with students and exposing them to what I think is an interesting subject, and it has honestly become more about tech support,”

— Parker Jackson

Teachers are doing the best they can to make their students’ lives easier, but a lot more goes into what they have done than meets the eye.

“I’ve color coded things in green that need to be done, things in red that are important and yellow are my recorded lessons so that things stick out to them. Due dates are bolded,” math teacher Jennifer Goldin said.

Things are still difficult, and learning how to effectively teach from scratch is no easy task for teachers, especially with other hurdles they have had to jump over.

“We’ve (had to) absolutely reinvent the way we teach things because the way that we have been taught to do this career, all of those things are no longer valid,” Jackson said. “You can’t form connections in the same way, you can’t present material in the same way. It’s almost like a completely different career.”

There are some positives to this change in the way that teachers have adapted to their new circumstances.

“I’m not writing lesson plans like I used to,” Goldin said. “My plans are on my daily plan page and that has saved me some time.”

The students are the most important thing about online school. Without student interactions and reactions, teaching is nearly impossible.

“I’m so used to relying on student reactions and doing what I do based on their reactions, because when students are sitting in class, I can see if they are visibly stressed by the amount of work I’m putting on them, and because it’s virtual, I have no idea,” Jackson said. “I also have no idea what other teachers are assigning because we can’t see each other’s canvas pages. So, I try to listen and adapt based on what the students say, when I hear them say things.”

On top of that, teachers aren’t adequately equipped with the materials they need from Guilford County Schools, which makes teaching effectively even more of a difficulty.

“For me personally, I do not have the electronics or technology that I need to conduct a lesson next Thursday,” Goldin said. “They have not gotten us the necessary laptops. (Guilford County Schools) is a business. I know it’s a school, but it’s a business, and in the business world, you are given every piece of equipment that is needed.”

Students have a great effect on making the lives of their teachers easier, and just doing the bare minimum is better than doing nothing.

“Students who don’t show up (makes things) stressful, and it makes our jobs harder because we worry about them. But we also have a million things going on. Do we prioritize the students that are showing up for us and make sure that they are receiving quality instruction? Or do we take that time and try to hunt down other students to make sure they’re getting something basic,” Jackson said. “It’s the constant struggle with that that is stressful for many people.”

Teachers aren’t concerned just about online learning, but also the future possibility of returning to school in the future.

“We understand that middle school and elementary school kids are supposed to be going back (to in-class learning), but the most frustrating part about this is I don’t believe that we are 100 percent ready with the materials and tools that we need (to be successful),” Goldin said.

If students, parents and staff can stay positive in this situation and do what is expected, things will improve, and online learning will become much more advantageous.

“We’re in this together, we also need to know that we’re all working towards the same goal,” Goldin said.