Virtual learning in English class

Student studies English notes after a virtual class

Saydria Ostler

Student studies English notes after a virtual class

Learning and teaching through a global pandemic and its side effects is not something students or teachers thought they would ever do. But everyone has had to adjust to the different learning formats that 2020 has offered.

The virtual English classroom has changed since the fourth quarter of last year. Senior Allison Tripp says, “Last year, the teachers would post our assignments on Google Classroom and give a due date and we could complete the work any time before then. But this year we have to participate in class with the rest of our classmates during the scheduled block period and finish homework or incomplete classwork later in the day.” Now, students and teachers are expected to participate in Google Meets, instead of simply reading the material and completing the assignments.

Another change for the freshman and sophomore students taking honors English, was the lack of a summer reading assignment. English department head Katherine Copic says, “The health and well-being of students was my primary concern…how we teach has not changed. What we tie to our instruction has changed.”

However, the junior AP English students still had their regular summer reading assignments. AP English teacher Cynthia Pino says, “Mrs. Schutz and I felt it would be fair to assign the reading because we allow a further 4 weeks of time to finish the reading once the students come back after summer.”

Despite these changes, some students believe that virtual learning is similar to the expectations and work that is done in school. Tripp says, “This year’s online learning is like last year’s in-person learning because of attendance and deadline expectations. We still have to…meet at the scheduled time every day, and…we have to have our work turned in or we won’t get credit.” Teachers still have the same expectations for their students to complete their work and manage their time, and students still have the same expectations from their teachers to give them the proper tools and learning skills to complete the assignments.

Freshman Allison Jex says, “We still have the same work that we would have to do in person.” Teachers still teach the same curriculum, with some format changes, such as a Google slide/doc or PowerPoint presentation for the students to reference.

English teachers still believe that their students can learn and apply themselves in a virtual classroom, the same way they would in a physical classroom. English teacher Penny Snyder says “In my opinion, there is no detrimental impact on the students’ learning. The curriculum standards will still be addressed, just in a different manner.” There have been changes in the way English classes are run, but the same standards will be met.