Teaching through a screen


Kristiana Angela Cato, Reporter

It was a sunny day on the tropical island of Oahu, a light breeze flowing through the air, students looking forward to Spring Break, then– Hawaii went on a lockdown in March of 2020. Everyone were to remain indoors and quarantine.

Schools were closed to limit interaction and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Teachers quickly compiled curricula for students online. It was an adjustment for them and the students. 

To make distance learning a little bit more enjoyable, teachers did their best to engage students. For example, they came up with fun little activities to do –  asking questions, and creating online presentations. Compared to in-person learning, more students weren’t doing well academically because of the lack of motivation and interaction, some would skip or not attend classes, and a lot had to catch up on work, Val Tina Oishi, a teacher from James Campbell High School (JCHS), explained. There was less interaction with the students through the screen, especially because everyone was in their room, it was quite challenging for them to get students to participate.

Stress. Stress is a common emotion teachers and students dealt with during distance learning. Oishi said, “It was a challenge for me to try and figure out how I was going to make sure they’re understanding the content.”

Since Oishi’s classes weren’t big during distance learning, it was easy for her to do some one-on-one with her students and get to know them through short interactions online. Getting students to engage and interact was difficult, even when teaching felt more like a meeting than a lesson. Only a few students turned their cameras on, and almost none responded, so it felt like teachers were just talking to themselves; it was quite lonely, Lance Kikuchi, another teacher from JCHS, described. 

Now that schools are open to in-person learning, teachers are happy to be back with their students, to see their faces, and to have that interaction with them again but are still very cautious since the pandemic is still going on. Some teachers refrain from assigning group projects to students to promote social distancing so they could avoid further spreading COVID-19. New rules were implemented for the safety of everyone; mask on at ALL times, sanitize daily, maintain a social distance of at least three feet, and wash hands frequently. 

For the most part, teachers are ready for distance learning if they are tasked to do it; they already have the majority of their curriculum online. Since teachers have experienced distance learning, the transition from in-person to online will be smoother than when they first went online in March 2020.