OPINION: Teachers, students see opposing sides of remote learning

Nov 26, 2021 | OP-ED, Opinion

As a student, I find online education easier for me. But as a teacher, I hate having classes online.

Many students combine their studies with work. Sometimes they work in customer service, sometimes in labour.

And some students choose to be teachers. And I did so too.

It is likely to start teaching at primary, middle or high school. Or to be hired in education centres to be a tutor. Even in Humber, you can tutor other students if you show your academic excellence in that particular subject.

I am a school administrator, currently replacing a fifth-grade teacher.

The Yuri Lypa Ukrainian Heritage Academy has classes every Saturday. And before the pandemic, we had over 200 students. This is more than kids in some Catholic or public schools.

The pandemic shrank in-person classes, but there are still nearly 150 students in online courses.

I remember recently I was giving my class dictation in the Ukrainian language. Halfway through I mentioned that I would ask my parents to send me a photo of their text to mark.

They right away asked me to start over again because of the bad connection. Apparently it wasn’t bothering them for the previous 20 minutes.

Or when I asked them to read a fairy tale. One student read a passage, then another read, but there was silence from the third student. It was then that he wrote that his microphone was not working.

However, within 15 minutes he told a joke to classmates and the microphone worked.

So much more progress would be made if I taught them offline. They would definitely like school more when interacting with each other and not just watching a monitor.

That’s if they are even watching the monitor.

I applaud kindergarten and primary school teachers who worked online and really took their time to teach kids what they were supposed to learn in a year.

Older kids are more likely to be told why they need to listen. But without seeing their frustration on their face you can’t see what topics that they couldn’t understand.

As a college student, I like online education. Sometimes I wake up five minutes before class and listen to the professor while making breakfast. Or when you are tired, you can just turn off the camera. Or when you’re not alone, turn off the microphone.

When it was in-person I would be spending $50 on Uber, and then still would be late by half an hour.

College and university professors must question themselves whether the students understood the subject as topics they cover are not easily taught online. I wonder what nurses, engineers and architects learned online.

COVID-19 changed the education system for both students and teachers and, as we begin to re-evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of it, I really hope a combination of online and offline classes will take the best of each.