Coronavirus, Covid, Education, Featured Post — November 11, 2020 at 9:59 pm

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Teaching in a Pandemic


It’s been 8 months now that many of us have been teaching and learning virtually, and I thought it might be time for a little reflection on what has worked out better than we may have expected, what is still a disaster, and everything in between. So, without further ado, I present The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of teaching in a pandemic.

Many thanks to my teacher friends on social media who helped to crowd source the following items. Hang in there, teachers…this too shall pass.

And if you have other suggestions for the list, please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below!

The Good

  • The commute is really short
  • Real lunches are a thing
  • All day coffee
  • The Chat window is like a parallel class session
  • “Permission” to teach and do things differently without the need/expectation to perform
  • Wearing shorts to class
  • The mute button
  • The experience has heightened my sense of my students’ overall well-being — I find myself making more focused efforts to check in with students more often, and that’s one thing I hope will carry over to the Future Times
  • Students can use the bathroom when they like
  • Some students are becoming more self-sufficient
  • Students submitting videos of their work for feedback
  • Throwing in a load of laundry between classes
  • Getting to expose students to more music listening
  • Some students participate more when class is held virtually
  • More time with your family
  • I have learned so much about technology
  • Parents have a window into my teaching in ways they never did before
  • Students do not have the extra distractions with conversations or the “noise” of the classroom
  • In some ways virtual learning can be more equitable and democratic
  • Virtual performances in elementary are SO much less stressful and more people see their kids perform than they would if we had them after school
  • Some students are actually better at listening to themselves and developing their individual music and executive skills
  • I have more concrete examples of student work
  • I love the opportunities for genuine connection with families; We watched one of my student’s abuela make tortillas by hand yesterday
  • Meetings on Zoom are less annoying than in real life
  • Ability to workshop with one student while the others have practice time
  • Your dog or cat can come to class
  • Your students’ pets can come to class

The Bad

  • Your students don’t come to class
  • Zoom
  • Lack of really good art materials
  • Getting beginning string players to tune their own instruments is so hard when their ears aren’t developed
  • I miss being able to help a kid at their desk
  • More time with your family ;)
  • The students who were already marginalized are really struggling
  • I feel like it’s harder for me to realize what boundaries I need between work and personal life
  • I miss the energy that we get from teaching in person; There are times that I feel unsure how class went because all their reactions were literally muted
  • I am for sure learning how to be a better teacher, but I also know I want to be a teacher of people in person
  • Competing for students’ attention against whatever environment they are in
  • Not being able to provide a group playing experience
  • I miss the kids feeling free and making jokes and talking naturally
  • Some students participate less when class is held virtually
  • I don’t mind the online teaching so much as the hybrid teaching; I don’t have the energy each class deserves to manage a Zoom call and a class full of students in front of me 5 times a day
  • Endless snack availability
  • The work to put together on-line classes with synchronous and asynchronous lectures along with correcting papers is mind numbing
  • The “lag” on Zoom that makes music making so hard
  • Lack of connection with your students
  • I miss seeing the joy students get from learning something they thought they could never do
  • Too many students in a virtual classroom
  • Trying to be an IT specialist while teaching
  • Catching up students who come to class late
  • Dealing with a variety of devices and app incompatibility
  • Feeling awkward that parents can observe my teaching
  • Even if students get to know me, it’s really difficult for them to get to know each other
  • You miss your colleagues
  • It’s hard to “read the room” on Zoom
  • You’re exhausted all the time
  • Families constantly switching between in-person and virtual learning modalities
  • No motivation
  • Staring at 50 blank squares, all muted, having no idea if they’re even vaguely paying attention, and definitely not returning any feedback or energy
  • It’s difficult to go into depth virtually

The Ugly

  • Having to wear socks or pants for the first time in months