The way of teaching has changed for every school, especially since 2020. In the beginning, we all thought that these virtual classes are only for the time being and things will go back to the way they were. However, online classes are here to stay and we’ll just have to get used to it. Although teachers (just like the students) are finding it pretty hard to adjust to this change. In fact, many teachers have said ‘it is very hard to take my online classes, I wish things go back to normal.’
Online classes are the new normal and new things always come with new challenges. Just as students face challenges in their online classes, American teachers face many challenges too. Most of them have grown up during a time when computers and smartphones weren’t common. Hence these digital challenges are much trickier for these teachers. So let’s talk about what are the major challenges that American school teachers are facing in online teaching!
Learning from home feels lonely for not only students but teachers too! Teachers miss the buzz of the classroom setting and the company of their fellow teachers. Hence, it’s no surprise that this isolation affects their desire to exchange knowledge.
Despite what you felt before, you’re bound to miss school when you’re bound at home. This decreases the benefits of group work, class discussion, and collaboration activities while learning. Learning alone demands teachers to come up with new teaching methods, which is tricky. Moreover, the fun in learning can disappear from the program entirely if teachers aren’t careful. Moreover, it’s demotivating for teachers when they see student engagement levels going down.
Since this transition to the online world has been hard for students too, they feel demotivated in class. It is one of the toughest jobs in the world to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn. With all the distractions around students and the lack of restriction, most of them simply don’t study. Many students even say ‘I am not used to learning at home, that’s why I can’t focus during online classes’.
The lack of proper study space is also one of the biggest factors here. Thus this decreasing motivation has made it more difficult to keep the academic work going. This lack of motivation also affects the students’ achievements and outcomes which makes the teacher look bad. Schools evaluate teachers not just on the basis of feedback but also their class results. When a bunch of unmotivated students get bad grades, it creates various issues for the teacher. This can be very disheartening for a teacher who works day and night to plan lessons and teach students.
Most of the teachers of today are people who grew up without technology and computer education. There are many teachers who cannot work with MS Word and PowerPoint. So when a technical issue happens with the application and tools, it becomes very difficult for them to manage. This messes the momentum of teaching for many teachers who dread online classes. Not only that, but it also wastes a lot of precious time and the lecture gets left midway. If a student is facing technical issues, it’s hard for teachers to help them.
Finally, the biggest problem in online learning is that teachers don’t always have the best internet. When the internet connection is weak, it becomes hard to load heavy applications such as MS Teams. This creates anxiety within teachers because they’re already short on time and the students lose their seriousness. Plus, when the internet connection is weak, it’s not easy to upload presentations, animations, and video tutorials.
Teachers need feedback during class because they need to know if students understand what they’re teaching. There are ways to make students interact in classrooms, like making them sit in the front row. However, this becomes tricky to deal with when you’re taking online classes. Sitting at home, students are dealing with boredom and stress at the same time. Of course, they won’t be interested in turning their mics on and participating in online classes.
Normally, students need that ‘push’ or support in-person to help them stay motivated in class. Although, you can’t give them the same kind of support in online classes. Hence, you can’t even blame them completely because they were dependent on their teachers’ motivational push. It doesn’t matter how many times you notify their parents, a lot of them are too busy with other chores. Thus, with no teacher or parent to motivate them, students just remain quiet during class. Hence teachers have to give their lectures to a completely silent class behind the screen.
New Ways of Cheating
We know what the typical exam room looks like; separate seats and an examiner watching you like a hawk. However, students could still try to cheat by keeping a microcopy of their notes, using their phone, exchanging papers, etc. Now when you look at online exams, the scenario becomes completely different. Teachers have to make sure that students don’t cheat without even being in the same room! This is a huge challenge for many teachers because students can easily keep cheating material with them.
Hence teachers have to find smart ways to test students’ learning. One of them is taking an open-book exam because students can’t find the answers in their books then. However, students can still search them up online and cheat on their papers. Moreover, if you give them a quiz on a survey application, there are codes to hack the answers. Thus, teachers struggle to battle these new-age challenges while testing their students.
There are so many challenges in online teaching that it’s hard to pinpoint one. If you’re one of those teachers who think ‘I hate to take my online class, don’t worry. We get your struggles. Most articles only talk about students’ issues and we’re here to change that! If online classes are hard for students, they are just as hard for teachers too. In fact, for many teachers, it’s way more difficult because they’re not used to online tools. This affects their job and work performance, hence we should take time to acknowledge their struggles. Teachers work worry hard to educate the new generation of a country and they deserve recognition. Only if we try to see things from teachers’ point of view, then we can come up with effective solutions.