Unmuted: Prep Teachers Reflect on Digital Learning


Courtesy of UC Today

Hannah DeGroot and Sydney Leardi

Students ALL know the pros and cons of ‘Zoom High,’ but what about the teachers? During this new frontier, Prep teachers put their tech skills to the test with increased summer trainings, creating screen-friendly lessons, finding innovative ways to keep students engaged, and much more. With such variation in class needs, teachers must rely on a wide range of apps, websites, and tools that will work best for their specific subject.

Mrs. McCorriston, a recent addition to the Prep science department, expressed the difficulties of not being able to fully gauge how much material is absorbed by students. She says, “when seeing you guys on Zoom, I only see little thumbnails of students, making it hard to know if you understand what we are teaching.” McCorriston also points out that “when you are teaching to a bunch of muted people, it’s like talking to yourself.”

A staple of Prep, Collegio values teamwork, discussion and analysis; all difficult concepts to transfer through the computer. Mr. Mitchell articulated that the teachers have to learn to teach online just as students have to adjust to learning digitally. He conveys that “students are more responsible for their learning than in a traditional class setting” and that “If students are feeling challenged or overwhelmed, I would encourage them to reach out.”

While learning digitally, it is up to the student more than ever to communicate with their teachers. Mr. Mitchell also reminded Prep that teachers are human, and that “we are going to see more of [their] humanity and [their] vulnerability this year.”

All classes have changed quite a bit, but HEX department classes have arguably changed their curriculum the most. Mrs. Sullivan, who teaches physical education to all different grades spoke of the obstacles surrounding PE at home. Every student has different equipment at home that teachers must work with to create assignments that are equitable for everyone. However, she wants us to remember that we cannot “just dwell on all the possible negatives of online school, that [we] have to just start [our] day and just do today.” Leaving us with one last piece of strong advice, Ms. Sullivan stated “you have to find ways to find joy in this situation, every day, in every moment.”

Our Final Takeaways:
• Breakout rooms, a fan favorite, caught the hearts of many teachers, as they admit that it causes Zoom to have a leg up on Teams.
• Mr. Mitchell might not fully be human as “reading quizzes bring joy to [his] soul.”
• Ms. McCorriston, speaking from experience, would like her students to tell her if she is not sharing her screen when she thinks she is.
• Ms. Sullivan’s words of wisdom: we can only control what we can control.