The complicated relationship between Orange County teachers (K-College) and the internet


(Courtesy: PickPik)

We know online school takes a lot out of students, but for teachers it is a whole new world.

At this point you might be getting used to waking up late, turning on your computer and jumping right into class with no issues. Considering most of us already use technology 24/7, online school might sound like a piece of cake. 

But have you thought about your class professor who probably woke up way too early to prepare the material, get everything ready and teach online? What about that professor of yours who barely knew how to turn on the projector during class? How do you think he’s doing during this? 

Finals are coming up and students are only focusing on themselves more than ever forgetting that their teachers are having as hard a time, if not more, as them. I turned to some teachers to ask what it’s like to change from “on campus professor” to “online instructor” as well as the positives and negatives of online teaching.

“It’s probably four times as many steps to reciprocate the classroom environment [through online teaching] as it is in person,” says Orange County kindergarten teacher, Sherry Basil. “You’re sitting behind a video screen and it’s very difficult for the little guys not having them with you face to face.”

For a kindergarten teacher, the challenge isn’t only teaching the little ones, but also training the parents into this new environment. Now that the parents have to deal with their kids for longer periods of time, they are becoming part of the teaching process.

“It’s important for the parents to have some sort of schedule where they can work in breaks for them and the kids,” says Basil. “They are not teachers, so you are eventually teaching the parents concurrently with the children.”

Even now that the internet plays such an important roll in society, most professors don’t know how to use it. Some are adapting, but others are more “old school” and prefer in class dynamics. Therefore, they are turning to the young ones for advice on how to properly work online classes.

The newer generations have a better understanding of the technology world. They didn’t have to “learn” it, they just grew up with it. But for the old dogs, it’s like learning a complete new language in two weeks.

“I was forced to learn literally everything,” says Mission Viejo High School teacher, Edward Merk. “I have never used an online platform to teach, so the biggest challenge for me was fighting against this form of teaching which made the whole process much more difficult.”

While some teachers are still adapting, others have figured out how to work the online system.

“The use of unfamiliar technology is challenging, but once I learned how to use it I realized how much I love it,” says Aliso Niguel High School teacher, Nancy Strome. “Now that I’m comfortable with the technology we have been instructed to use, I would definitely do online teaching again.”

“I think I would teach online again,” says Saddleback College professor, Ryan LaRue. “It has been tough only because it was so sudden, with very little to no preparation beforehand. However, if I had time to design my course, I think it would be a cool opportunity.”

One answer most teachers had in common was the advice they would give to their fellow colleagues. To the ones still struggling with this new method of teaching it’s important to utilize the online resources that the school provides as much as possible, don’t be shy to ask for help to those who know better and listen to the students needs who are also battling with it.

“Be supportive and compassionate with all that is going on,” says LaRue. “Many students are facing increased hardship outside the classroom, so I’ve found that being empathetic to all students is key in motivating them to keep learning and staying strong.”

Even though this isn’t the ideal way to end the semester, this has shown how much we can do when we work together. Today, students are adapting to this new learning era and teachers are learning how to teach it. There’s an indefinite date to when this will end, so might as well get used to it.