Distance learning has been difficult for all of us students at AISB, but teachers have had struggles of their own. And now that school is partially reopening, we wanted to take a look back at these struggles in a more light-hearted way, by asking teachers about the most “annoying” things students have done while learning over Zoom. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Accepting Zoom Calls Late
This was one of the most common complaints among teachers, while hearing the typical reasons (excuses) like “My internet stopped working,” or, “I didn’t hear the call,” or, “Zoom called my phone instead of my computer.”
AISB Journalism Teacher Jennifer Stevens says that it’s particularly annoying when it becomes a regular thing. “Having to take attendance, then let people into the class from the waiting room while you’re already teaching… it takes away a lot of teaching time,” she explains.
Let’s be honest: all we have to do is make sure we’re next to our computer after break. This will prevent some teacher frustration and might even lessen our homework by giving us more class time. And, none of us like homework—especially during distance learning!
2. Leaving Their Cameras Off
Another popular answer was students not turning their cameras on, and then not answering when asked questions. This is just extremely awkward and it also makes the class go slower and gets everyone off-task.
Science Teacher Luke Scholtes says that sometimes it could be “because they’ve ducked off to the toilet or something. There’s that ten seconds of silence when you’re wondering if they just forgot they were muted.”
Online learning is already a strange experience for all of us, so we should just keep ourselves motivated and try our best to participate. Maybe remember to drop a private note to the teacher if we need to go to the bathroom and avoid sneaking out for a snack during the class. This way teachers can handle their sessions like they normally would do in “the before times.”
3. When All Students are Muted and No One Responds to Questions
Now, someone not answering a question when their microphone and camera is off is one thing, but no one answering a question directed at the class when cameras are actually on is a whole other conversation! Not only does it feel uncomfortable because the teacher has to wait for someone to answer, but the worst part is everyone looking goofy on their screens while we all wait for the “brave one” to speak.
Stevens explains, “The worst thing about online teaching, hands-down, is that I often feel like I’m talking to myself. It’s so awkward.” If we speak up and answer questions in class, other classmates will follow along and participate as well. This will make the classroom environment more lively; and who knows, it may even feel like our previous lives before the virus. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
4. When Students Aren’t Looking At the Screen and Doing Something Else
Sometimes we may not give our full attention to class. There are no teachers around us to check what we’re doing, so it’s easy to believe we can do whatever we want. It is very obvious when we’re doing something we aren’t supposed to be doing and it even distracts some of our friends and others in the meeting as they try to figure out what we are up to on the other side.
AISB English Teacher Ian Edwards, replies: “When the camera is, we can tell when students are CLEARLY looking at/doing something else.” Fellow English teacher Aliza Robinson adds, “I can tell that you are working on another subject or texting friends instead of working— I do see your facial expressions!”
So remember, just because teachers are sharing their screens or teaching, it doesn’t mean they can’t see us. To avoid this we can either learn to control our facial expressions or we can distance ourselves from our phones so we aren’t tempted to use them…the second option is probably better. This way we will engage and participate more in class which will definitely make the sessions more fulfilling.
5. Using Zoom Tools to Try to be Funny
We gotta admit, Zoom helped us all so much during this time. This app is basically the only way we have been able to continue school. It is even a great app to contact our friends when we can’t physically see them and it also has so many tools that are fun to use in class.
“Some students have demonstrated they do not know how to respectfully annotate shared screens,” says Chuck Adams, an English and Humanities teacher at AISB.
Teachers are really trying their best to make classes more entertaining and sometimes they may even include interactive activities for lessons. During the pandemic we have lost so much class time. When we goof off all this does is make us waste more time, and in moments like this, time is valuable. “Unfortunately I’ve had to disable this feature for everyone,” Adams continues.
So, interact with Slides appropriately, and only use Zoom’s new effects if you’re teacher’s okay with it. Remember the words of Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Use the Zoom tools wisely.
6. Interrupting Each Other with Unnecessary Comments
We tend to mess around sometimes and make funny comments (or at least we think they are funny!), and that’s normal and even happens often during physical classes. However, when someone continues making random comments and it becomes a habit, it can be very annoying to not only the teachers but also to us students. Teachers have to constantly tell the student to raise their hand if they want to talk or comment, this whole process wastes time, and then the work we were trying to do in class ends up as homework, which is really not funny.
Many teachers said they “welcomed this kind of engagement” in regular school, when classes were 90 minutes and students were more engaged. However, with all they have to contend with to keep our attention, there’s unfortunately just not time for this. Edwards states that using the chat function has been helpful, as students can ask questions when they pop up, allowing him to answer when he’s able.
Thank you to all the teachers that submitted responses in the survey! We know we might be annoying at times, but still appreciate the work you’re doing!