After nearly a year and a half of distance learning via video chat and computer screens, students and faculty have returned to IIllinois State University for the fall semester and in-person lessons.
Wwith only a week of lessonses finished, many teachers are realizing how digital learning is going to impact the way they teach in their classrooms this year.
“I missed the little conversation with the students and the one-on-one discussions that take place with individuals or small groups of students as the class begins or ends.” Ryan Brown, apartner ofdirector and ccoordinator of the College of Education’s ggraduate pprograms, noted.
“I felt my teaching was successful online and the students were learning the content, but I didn’t feel like I got to know the students as well and I do it in class in person. ”
Many teachers have found the lack of personal relationships associated with digital learning difficult.
“Body language. Not being able to read body language [was the most difficult part of digital learning], ” School of Social Work apartner pprofessor Karen Stipp said. “Not being able to see students’ eyes, see that understanding look and know it’s time to move on. I should ask.
The has difficulties and realities digital learning forced teachers to see teaching from a different perspective and implement these perspectives in their Im-teacher person.
“Teaching in a pandemic has taught me to be more open with my students about the challenges I too face as an educator and lifelong learner,” said Jenna Goldsmith, Deputy Principal and Academic Advisor for the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.
“We’re all trying to get through this together, and we will.”
In the same way, Stipp also to befirearm teach from a more vulnerable place, teach more openly and expressing that both students and teachers sail into uncharted territory within education.
“We are not going back to pre-pandemic reality. I realize that the next step will be post-pandemic. This is a very recent revelation for me. We must move forward and not back down,“ said Stipp.
However, the faculty explained that resume learning in person did not come without challenges.
“With masks, it prevented communication problems, the possibilities of quarantine [means] keep students informed in class when they cannot attend. There are so many different scenarios that we haven’t faced over the past few semesters, ”said Pam Morbitzer, assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.
“In some ways it feels like we’re trying to force normalcy,” Goldsmith said. noted. “These are not normal times, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot ignore that we are still mired in a global pandemic that is causing great suffering.”
The ISU had originally planned to return to face-to-face classes without a mask warrant for those who were vaccinated. But in light of the increase in the number of cases due to the Delta variant, the ISU has decided to follow the CDC’s recommendations and implement a universal mask mandate.
“Then as the realities of the delta variant strike, of course, I have a very different feeling,” Stipp said. “[I’m] wishing i could be a little more protective i just want to keep everyone safe. “
Despite the difficulties encountered with in-person learning, facultyty are delighted to have students back on campus.
“I’m super happy to have the youth that the students bring and the energy, Stipp noted. “Super happy to have that and to have students back on the streets.“
This first week of classes was the first time in 17 months that many people had bin a more traditional classroom. Despite wear masks and other challenges that may have arose, the teachers were happy to be back in class to teach in person.
“Beyond the excitement,” Morbitzer said. “I love the energy of my students and I am excited to do my job every day. “
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