Teacher thoughts on Hybrid Learning

LSHS teachers are enthusiastic about having students back in their classroom.

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Courtesy of Isaac Xiong

Go Lake: Lake Stevens High School teachers are now teaching students full-time online. When hybrid learning was brought up, Kaleb Allinson, a math teacher, was more than pleased to start hybrid learning. “I’m sure that it will be nice for everyone to be able to see faces again while teaching and learning,” Allinson said.

COVID-19 has had major impacts on people’s lives, whether it’s not getting to go watch the sports they love, not traveling or not getting to hug family members. One aspect of several people’s lives that has changed during the last year is going to school every day. LSHS has been 100% online since March 13, 2020 when Covid cases were on the rise. It has been a year since then, and LSHS staff and students now have word they will be back to school starting Apr. 19. What school will look like during the pandemic is not clear, but it is sure that teachers are looking forward to having their students back in the classroom, as well as being slightly nervous.

Online school has had its ups and downs within the past year, but it has also provided some new experiences for teachers. Roger Anderson, a CWI and Sociology teacher at LSHS describes his experience with teaching online as, “Educational! I’ve learned a great deal about technology that I will carry over to my in-person teaching.”

Anderson is not the only teacher who has learned a lot about technology over the course of online school, Karen Morton, the DECA teacher at LSHS, feels she has grown her knowledge on technology as well.
“I was a teacher as of March 13, 2020 that said: do not turn that in electronically, put your paper in the basket over there, so you can imagine what a steep learning curve it was to learn all of the technology that I needed to do. But it also gave me the opportunity to learn it. I’ve never had the time or took the time I had to,” Morton said.

With spring break just around the corner, students and staff are beginning to focus more on going back to school. Over the past year, teachers have really missed the in-person interactions with their students, and the ability to form strong relationships. Martin Mainer, a Spanish teacher at LSHS misses those connections with his students as well.
“We almost all become teachers because we want to do our best for our students, and it is frustrating not being able to work in the environment we are trained/most comfortable in,” Mainer said.

Teachers have also changed the way they teach their content.
“DECA is totally activity-based, and those have just been squashed. We’ve done a little bit, but not near what we would normally do,” Morton said.

A common agreement between Anderson, Morton, and Mainer, is that they are all feeling optimistic about hybrid learning.
“ I am very excited to be able to have students back on campus and in person. Hybrid learning will be just another transition that we will all have to adjust to. With a positive attitude and grace when faced with the inevitable difficulties that are sure to arise we will finish the year as best we can,” Mainer said.

A positive mindset is the best way to go about this new transition, which the teachers make clear.

With the excitement of going back to school in April, it is still a worry to teachers as well. Going back to school during a pandemic won’t be easy, and it is definitely nerve-racking to teachers who haven’t been in their classroom in over a year. Teachers are getting their vaccines before going back to school which is very important, but some still have the slight worry as well.

“I’m a little nervous, but my wife and I will both be fully vaccinated by the time students return, so I feel better knowing that,” he said.

Morton has been in a small bubble of people since last March, so the concept of being around so many people again is a little unsettling. She says it will be hard opening up her bubble to so many people, but she is glad to have a week in between spring break and going back to school for safety reasons.

Mainer is not nervous for himself, but worried for other teachers at LSHS.
“II will be fully vaccinated by the time hybrid learning begins, and my classroom has windows and probably enough space for all my students. It also is in my favor that all my world travels I have been exposed to different pathogens and elements, so I feel my body is well equipped. I am, however, nervous for many of my colleagues who do not have classrooms with neither the physical space or air circulation needed to provide a safe work environment. Equity is SO important for a successful return to the classroom.”

It will be interesting to see how LSHS staff and students handle the transition from online to hybrid learning, and a great opportunity for students to develop deeper connections with their current teachers before the school year is over.