COVID-19 struck yet again last week, and for the first time we are experiencing virtual learning at DCHS. While it may be hard on us as students, many of the teachers at DCHS are having to adjust to virtual learning as well.
For starters, some of our teachers were anxious about the unknowns of virtual learning. Mr. Painter said, “Compare it to learning to fly an airplane in mid-air . . . this kind of sums it up.” With little knowledge on the idea of virtual learning and not all the materials on how to make virtual learning effective, for some teachers this has been quite a rocky ride. However, Mr. Tonsoni (Mr. T.), who was among the first teachers in the district to adopt digital learning many years ago, was prepared. “I believed there was a possibility of virtual learning, so I spent time in the summer reading and learning. I also was very familiar with video and audio on computers,” said Mr. T.
If you’ve had a class with Mr. Painter in the last week, you are probably well aware that he has been having some technical difficulties, to put it lightly. He stated, “We’ve recently had several google meets with video and audio problems. I also had many “try-and-fail” with new technology during remote learning in the spring and summer school.” Mr. T. had some difficulties as well. “We had some audio issues when using our chromebooks. After switching to desktops, the issue went away.” Mr. Painter stayed optimistic through it all, being sure to leave some of the optimism that we all know and love behind. “Some of it is to be expected, but I’ve found I actually learned more technology through failure. It’s really how you often learn best in life . . . learn from your failures.”
Even with the poor internet connections causing problems like slow or delayed audio, or even no audio at all at times, the teachers at DCHS are doing all they can to make sure that we have a meaningful educational experience through this trying time. Many students do not like virtual learning. Many of our teachers, however, believe that virtual learning is better for learning and retaining information as compared to elearning. As Mr. M. stated, “E-learning is an adequate policy as a short-term fix, but it is a nightmare to facilitate for several days in a row.” And in Mr. Gaspar’s opinion: “Virtual learning has been FAR better than e-learning. Also, I believe that learning is more meaningful and permanent when done through a human connection, as opposed to ‘I sent you an assignment. Complete it for tomorrow’.” If the few teachers I reached out to are representative of the DCHS staff as a whole, it appears that virtual learning is the preferred mode of learning.
With that being said, many of the teachers at DCHS still prefer to have their students in class. “Personally, I despise not being able to see and interact with my students in person,” said Mr. M. He is not the only teacher that feels this way. Mr. Painter stated, “The virtual learning forces teachers and students to spend a little more time working face-to-face with feedback. It’s still no substitute for the live classroom though.” So, students, do not be alarmed because the teachers do not want this to be a permanent fix. However, the teachers at DCHS find it to be a good substitution for the educational experience that we can’t have due to COVID-19. Mr. Gaspar stated, “If virtual learning had to be extended, or if we had to return to it at some other point this year, I think we could manage just fine.”
Whether we like it or not, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. This experience is one the students and teachers at DCHS will never forget as we continue our educational journey together virtually. Through it all, we must try to stay positive. As Mr. M. stated, “It takes more than a little pandemic to slow down Delphi. Go Oracles!”