How Desperately Teachers and Students Crave Normalcy

How+Desperately+Teachers+and+Students+Crave+Normalcy

Tyler Stovall, Reporter

 

In this period of life where globally, Covid-19 has consumed almost all aspects of normalcy, teachers and students are desperate to return to form. The virus has rendered learning in a physical classroom obsolete and has delegated students to virtual learning. The aspects of teaching and learning, the relationships built between teacher and student, and the bonds and friendships garnered through interaction have all been stripped and have emphasized to everyone the importance of interaction. Many lives have been molded through this interaction, and this sudden absence has branded its mark on lives everywhereMrs. Yafit Fishbach, first year teacher at Southwind High School, explains how the sudden change has impacted not only her but her students as well.  

Many of the youth are heavily influenced by their teachers because they present that first difference in perspective and teaching away from their parents. A perfect example, as stated by Fishbach, “My teaching inspirations are my professors from grad school and one specific ELA teacher I had in high school,” “Each shaped my thoughts on literature, writing, and on education.”  Fishbach went on to become a teacher in English and Literature, so it is evident that teacher-student interaction is a staple in the development of lives. With that in context, it is also clear that the absence of this integral component, consequently, leaves a void in the development of students.  

This current predicament of virtual learning has seemed to negatively affect teachers’ ability to teach as well as, and more importantly, students’ ability to learn.  Fishbach also stated, “I think it has affected students and teachers negatively, I do not think students are capable of learning in the same way they would be learning in a classroom. It’s just not possible with the number of distractions in front of them, I also don’t think it’s realistic to keep people in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day.” She believes the abnormality of virtual learning has negatively affected both parties. Senior, Kyla Plummer, agrees with  Fishbach’s point of view and believes  that virtual learning has taken a toll on her. Although being able to roll over into class is convenient, I am not fully attentive. It is harder to retain the material over the camera screen and tasks are assigned daily with little instruction.” Overall, it is overwhelming and a process I’m ready to end. Physically going [to school] gave me a social life and ability to speak to my teachers for further understanding.”  

Although virtual learning is a daunting challenge to normalcy, it does not stand alone. The component that may be even more daunting is the reason schools had to resort to virtual learning in the first place, Covid-19. This pandemic has presented threats to not only efficient learning but to life itself. The number of active infections in Shelby County has reached a staggering 2,853, and one death has been reported since recently as one day ago. This prompts all citizens, not only teachers and students, to remain stationery and lays yet another mental blow in the minds of those craving normalcy. A testament to the effect of this virus could be the explanation given by Fishbach of her experience while residing in New York City as a teacher. “I was in NYC at its peak and It was terrifying.” “I don’t think anyone who isn’t from NYC could possibly understand what happened to our city from March through June, We lost over 30,000 people,  and there were ambulances running 24 hours a day past my window.” “I was virtually teaching with my students in NY and we would have to pause the zoom session every 3 or 4 minutes until the sirens passed because they were so loud, I personally know people who have died – all of us in NY do.” Our beloved Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Central Park in Manhattan became pop-up hospitals, military ships docked in lower Manhattan and became floating hospitals, There were freezers in the streets with dead bodies in them, I’m traumatized.” The rest of the country doesn’t understand.,NYC is the epicenter of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people fly in and out of there every day, and our homes are cluttered on top of each other, so of course we got hit worse than anyone.” 

        Covid-19 is forcing citizens into a way of life so foreign to that of which they remember that a burning desire for normalcy has arisen. Teachers and students are cautious of a return due to safety reasons, however if safety can be ensured then they relish the opportunity to return. Learning, in the traditional way that they rememberis currently missed and is taking its toll. In the age of Covid-19, the desperation of teachers and students to return to normalcy has reached the forefront of all their minds. 

Students and teachers alike are scheduled to return in school January 19, 2021. With rising Covid numbers t his may not be possible. Everyone will have to wait and see if they will get the