The teacher’s return to school


Photo courtesy of Marc Waldman

How have you adapted to online school emotionally, mentally, and/or physically? “I have taken an attitude of “It is what it is.” I do vent every now and again because I do want to be in the building. I know that things will eventually return to normal – whatever that means.”

Over the past year, the spotlight has shifted on how students are struggling to learn because of the pandemic. But, not many have thought about how hard it is for teachers to properly teach their courses through Zoom and only two days a week. With the rollout plan approved by MCPS, teachers are now back in schools teaching students both in person and virtual. Most would think that teachers are now in a better environment to teach and have less stress on their shoulders, but this is not the case.

The school schedules which MCPS operates by still have the same format as the makeshift pandemic schedule. Even though teachers are in person, they still only have two hours a week to teach each of their class periods compared to just under four hours in the regular schedule. While teachers are in a better environment to teach and have more resources at their disposal, time is still an issue.

In addition to time, the MCPS rollout plan has already begun to put students back into schools to create a hybrid learning model. This creates another challenge for teachers, teaching two groups of students in different places at the same time.

“This is just the latest offense in a bungled effort to return students to school buildings… The current MCPS plan requires more space, more people, and more resources than are now available to successfully implement this planned reopening of school facilities,” the M.C.E.A. (Montgomery County Education Association) said according to a statement obtained by Bethesda Magazine.
Many teachers feel that they are being rushed back into school to finish this school yea. Many were unprepared as they had to accelerate their class schedule and content to meet the demands of the MCPS guidelines. WJ English teacher Marc Waldman spoke about this.
“We were given materials such as a webcam and a microphone to teach our class periods. I prefer to use a Chromebook as it makes me feel more comfortable since I become more active like in a real class. It’s harder to do it with the materials provided since I have to teach the online and in person students at the same time,” Waldman said.

Part of the reason MCPS decided to go into a hybrid learning model was to help teachers and ease the stress off their shoulders, the opposite has taken effect. Now, teachers are responsible both for online and in person students and have only two hours a week to teach them both.
The hybrid learning model is creating more challenges and problems for teachers than solving them.
“I would prefer to go back to the regular Walter Johnson schedule of seven periods a day five days a week. The schedule right now is limiting and even though the regular schedule has shorter periods, it’s still more time for me to teach the material that is needed,” Waldman said.