Throughout the past couple of weeks, teachers and certain students have gradually and cautiously phased back into teaching and/or learning inside of the school. Many of the now in-person students are glad to have returned to the familiar ambience of a school building. But what about teachers’ perspectives on teaching through the hybrid model? Seeking this answer, I interviewed Miss Shayuth, a sedulous sixth-grade mathematics teacher at Julius West, about her own experience with teaching through the hybrid model.
Do you find it harder to simultaneously teach in-person and virtual students or to teach only virtual students?
I find it a lot harder [to simultaneously teach in-person and virtual students] because I am splitting my time among two different groups that need different things from me.
Are there any significant changes, whether positive or negative, that have occurred since you began teaching through the hybrid model? If so, what are those changes?
I feel like I am helping more students because when they are in person I can connect and explain things better.
Do you prefer teaching only virtual students or both virtual and in-person students?
If I could decide, I would want to teach all in-person, but from the [given] options, I would rather teach hybrid. Even though it is harder, it is better for the students.
Are there any adjustments that you wish would be made to the hybrid model in order to make this experience easier for both teachers and students?
I wish more students would come in-person because I still have many students that do not respond on zoom and I know they are falling behind a LOT.
Are there any specific adversities that have arisen since you started teaching using the hybrid model?
Just splitting my time between virtual and in-person students is very hard. I don't want one group to feel ignored or forgotten about. It is very hard to keep up with the chat while I have ten in-person students in the class.
I also interviewed Keira T.---a student at Julius West who chose to return to school---on her experience with hybrid learning thus far, hoping to hear a different perspective.
Do you prefer learning through the hybrid model or learning completely virtually? Which one is easier and more enjoyable for you?
I prefer hybrid because I went to school, and even though it is a little bit more complicated, I like that we are trying to still be close to the in-person experience at JW.
In your experience so far, how does the hybrid version of in-person school compare with a regular school experience?
The hybrid version of learning is different from a regular all-in-person experience because there can be multiple internet problems [with] Zoom and Canvas, whereas all in person, there wouldn't be any problems because it's mostly paperwork.
In your experience, are there any significant yet overlooked differences between a regular school experience and hybrid learning?
Not really; I think that MCPS and JW are handling the whole hybrid/Zoom/in-person situation great despite the circumstances.
Are there any specific adjustments that you wish would be made to the hybrid model to make this experience better?
No, but maybe once the teachers explain something to the in-person students, then again to the [virtual] people.
In addition to interviewing Ms. Shayuth and Keira, I interviewed Megan T.---a student at Julius West who remained completely virtual---about how she has been affected by the changes in virtual learning due to the commencement of hybrid learning.
So far, have you noticed any significant changes in your own learning experience that have been caused by the start of hybrid learning?
I haven't really been negatively impacted---it is normal to see students going back. It is a little sad not being able to see my friends in person, though.
Are there any changes that you wish would be made by your teachers during lessons in order to make it easier to learn remotely while others are physically in class?
Sometimes, the teachers allow the [in-person] students to log on Zoom. While some kids aren’t comfortable turning their camera on, it isn’t engaging to make it seem more like a real classroom. What I’m saying is that the teachers should enforce the cameras for the students in-person, so the kids on Zoom could see more of the classroom and it’s more realistic.
Based on hybrid-related changes or complications in learning that you have noticed, would you rather return to the building through the hybrid model or remain virtual, as you are now?
[In my experience,] virtual learning is more relaxing, but I would still love to go back in person.
I hope that Miss Shayuth, Keira, and Megan’s experiences with hybrid learning and teaching have opened your eyes to different perspectives on this new, adjusted method of education.