Remote Instruction: A Teacher’s Perspective

Arvin shares her 'new normal' with online learning

Debra Arvin

Saher Asifi, Writer

As the transition has started from going to school everyday to learning and educating online, one thing that has been a problem during this “online school” is that teachers can’t really tell if the students are learning, or if they are just cheating because there is little motivation to learn anything. Being educated in person, it is easier for students and teachers to interact because there are higher chances for students to NOT cheat than with online school, and teachers know better if their students understand the information being taught.

As from a teacher’s perspective, this is what it seems like so far:

“It’s definitely not something I would choose to do,” Debra Arvin, an Algebra I teacher for ninth grade students, said. “The students have handled the transition fairly well, but I think it’s because we started the year together! I would not want to teach this way all the time. I would have to Zoom classrooms so I could interact with my students. It’s important for the students and the teachers to have face-to-face conversations because it enhances educational conversations (they understand me better and I understand their questions better), but we can also see each other’s personalities better that way. Just like with text and email, you really don’t know how the person is feeling. I watch student’s body language and their faces a lot to see if they are confused.”

Though the transition has been hard for most teachers because it’s not something they are used to, it’s still a good thing that students and teachers are able to continue their educational matters. On the other hand, people have taken this time to find a hobby or try something new because there’s really not much else to do.

“I have been doing a ton of yard work,” Ms. Arvin said. “I moved into a new home in December so I have been landscaping so much in my yards. I love working in the yard. I’ve also done a lot of walking and hiking with my dog Rolo. I try to be outside as much as possible. I can’t stand just sitting in the house. I even bought myself a hammock so I can nap outside!”

During this pandemic, not only has it made people realize that they should try finding a hobby because the idea of not being able to do anything is mortifying, but also because taking self-care and being healthy prevents any further conflicts and risky situations.

“Like I said, I don’t like sitting in the house,” Ms. Arvin said. “I sit on my porch or lay in my hammock. My son (Coach Jacob Arvin), one of my best friends (Ms. Hernandez) and myself all three have conditions or take medicines that compromise our immune systems. As a result, I have to be very careful when I go to the store. Every Friday we get together for ‘Immunocompromised Night’ to play games. We named it that just to be dumb. We know none of us have been around others. If I didn’t have that interaction, it would be harder.”

Since quarantine has begun, the number of cases have not stopped, but it did slow down. Somehow stores and shops have opened because of the economy. Even though this is a good thing, it makes people more cautious about the situation.

“I can’t imagine what the number of cases would have been like with schools and movie theatres open, for example,” Ms. Arvin said. “However, I think we need to reopen so families can survive. We just need to be careful.”

There are people that aren’t even taking the situation seriously. Because of that, plans have to be cancelled. Big events that are coming up have been cancelled. On the bright side, being stuck in quarantine has caused some people to realize the special part about being home.

“Well, the biggest thing I’ve hated is my son and I had a dream trip to Italy planned for Spring Break,” Ms. Arvin said. “That obviously was cancelled and I don’t know that I will ever feel comfortable being in a plane with a lot of people for a while. So that definitely sucked! The one thing I’ve enjoyed is just a simpler life. No rush to be anywhere, no rush to get things on the weekend because I have to go back to work on Monday. I’ve enjoyed just setting my own schedule and it being flexible. Life seems more peaceful and slower now. I like that.”