Surprise, surprise

Flexibility, patience needed to adjust to hybrid schedule

Chloe Allen, Staff writer

The complications of schedule changes. The isolation of enhanced distance learning students. The COVID-19 diagnosis–and subsequent chaos caused in the classroom. Teaching EDL and live classes simultaneously.

As the district is planning possible changes to the schedule to start the new semester in January, teachers, administrators, and students are still adapting to the hybrid schedule DM adopted at the beginning of the first semester.

And they said that the new schedule has provided plenty of surprises–and demanded plenty of flexibility. 

“I want to connect with them. They are already distanced, they are already alone, and so having them come to class in the morning, I like it. I am having them come in the morning at least once a week.”  said Ms. Noriega, a dance teacher at DM.

Noriega said helping EDL students stay connected in this isolated environment was critical. She mentioned an uncomfortable microphone device that she uses to ensure that in-person students and EDL students could hear her. 

Difficulties are inevitable but teachers and students are responding well.

“I was surprised with how well the EDL kiddos have adjusted to staying home,” says Ms. Noriega. “It’s been great doing some live streaming so they stay connected.” 

Teachers, students and parents can easily relate to the worry of the virus. If a student attending live classes is diagnosed, anyone sitting near that student also is quarantined. Students and teachers are still adjusting to wearing masks all day.

And administrators are constantly focused on worst-case scenarios.

“I don’t know if people understand the gravity of the worry on my mind about students or teachers getting sick in school,” says DM Principal Dr. Hirsch.

Dr. Hirsch mentioned how important masks are for students and teachers to stay safe. 

“There was worry on the staff that kids would not be wanting to wear masks,” Dr. Hirsch, “but wow! The cooperation was fantastic.” 

Dr. Hirsch said that surprises, both good and bad, were inevitable.

“I was surprised that so many teachers wanted to put cameras in their classroom and that has been super for our EDL kids,” says Dr. Hirsch.

That was the good news.

“A surprise that was kind of bad was getting a call from another high school that we played them in football and they had a student that was infectious on their team so we had to shut down football for two weeks,” she said.

Teachers want to teach; we want to be with kids. That’s why we chose to teach in a school rather than teachers who like to teach online.”

— Ms. Weinberg

Dr. Weinberg, a math teacher at DM, said distance learning is difficult for teachers, who value interaction with students.

“Teachers want to teach; we want to be with kids,” Ms. Weinberg says. “That’s why we chose to teach in a school rather than teachers who like to teach online.”

“At the beginning, it was just a lot of chaos in terms of what was expected from the teachers,” she said, “but once things kind of settled down, I wasn’t a total fan of not getting to see everyone every single day.”

Karishma Mamnani, a freshman participating in the EDL program, says that she actually prefers the new schedule.

“It has been exciting this quarter getting to know my teachers more with the smaller EDL classes and more one-on-one time,” Mamnani said. 

Schedule changes are difficult for everyone. Even if the change is beneficial, Mamnani still described the situation as “crazy.”

“I did not anticipate the change in schedule,” Mamnani said. “It was a good surprise but I had already gotten used to the other schedule in the first quarter so it was a little crazy.”

David Lukacick, a senior at DM, disagrees with the amount of “surprise” these days.

“I wouldn’t say anything is particularly surprising these days,” said Lukacick, who is in the International Baccalaureate diploma program. “I have gotten used to things coming out of left and right”

Lukacick said he felt “left behind” as an EDL student. With teachers having to teach two classes at once, one class is bound to feel overlooked.

“The teachers are a lot more focused on the students in front of them,” Lukacick said. “It makes sense and I am not blaming the teachers. It just feels like people that are still in EDL are left behind.”

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