Amherst Regional teachers cite benefits, challenges of in-person education

  • Sarah Dorsey teaches science at Amherst Regional High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 6/22/2021 12:16:45 PM

After a year of teaching online, teachers at Amherst Regional High School have made the transition back into teaching in person, much to the relief of many on the staff.

Most teachers like the switch to teaching back in the environment they’ve taught in for their entire careers, but with around 50% of ARHS students still being online, it adds a whole new element to teaching, and some are handling it better than others.

“I’m constantly trying to deal with the technology, sometimes I forget to show (the online students) the screen when I’m talking to the students in class,” English teacher Mark Moriarty said.

“There are definitely some limitations to what I’m able to do with the in-person students because I have to keep an equitable education for those folks that are still online,” science teacher Sarah Dorsey said.

Teachers interviewed also made it clear that the learning level online students are receiving has gone down since students went in person, and that they’ve accepted that.

“When we were remote, we had the option of using breakout rooms as a way to talk to students individually or in small groups or to pair up students who work with translators. With the small groups they could get more work done and be more productive, and now that’s a lot harder to do,” Librarian Ella Stocker said.

With students in person, it’s harder to put the students that are online in breakout rooms because the students that are in person will always be listening in.

“It’s difficult because I can’t go into a breakout room because then the entire class hears the private conversation,” health teacher Elizabeth Haygood said.

Normal classes aren’t the only classes that have gone hybrid. Band classes also have gone hybrid, and band teachers now have to conduct with several people being on a computer, and others in person.

“The students who are in person are getting a much more realistic open experience and much more attention from me. It’s definitely not a setup I would advocate for,” band instructor Kara Nye said.

Despite the troubles of teaching both online and in person at the same time, teachers agreed that they’re happy to be back teaching students in person.

“My mood has brightened to have students in my room again,” Moriarty said.

“It seems so much easier than the transition from in person to remote, I mean it’s much more back to normal,” Kara Nye said.

“It’s been really nice to have students in front of me in class. It’s much easier to develop relationships with your students and get to know them than it is on a computer screen,” Dorsey said.

“I prefer to be in person, I prefer to be able to walk around, talk to them, see how we can help them be successful,” Haygood said.


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