Teachers view on new in-school learning conditions


The year of 2020-2021 is unlike any other year at Bethpage High School. Due to the global pandemic; shield guards, masks and special protocols must be taken to ensure the safety of both students and staff. Since we are the only school in Nassau County where students and staff are doing in-person learning, it is crucial we take these precautions very seriously. With these protocols many may wonder what the staff thinks about this new approach to learning. Since the majority of the school consists of students there may be a lack of feedback from the staff’s point of view. 

The faculty at Bethpage High School all had to adapt to these new learning conditions. These adaptations include but are not limited to practicing social distancing, following the signs for stair directions, balancing online and in-school students, wearing a mask, being aware of the new bell schedule and seeing the barriers on the desks. Although this may seem difficult, our staff and teachers are able to continue their jobs while following health guidelines. 

One person we interviewed regarding the teacher’s view on new in-school learning conditions was Mr. McCoy, a social studies teacher at Bethpage High School, who gave us his opinion on these new conditions. “Planning and teaching have been such a difficult thing when kids can’t be kids and they are behind dividers, wearing masks”, says McCoy. This new distance learning has been very difficult for the teachers to get through and connect with the students. These new conditions have made it “…difficult and time-consuming, trying to put forth everything to make [the lessons] accessible to not only the kids in school but also to the kids outside of school”.

Mr. Murray, a finance teacher, says that this new form of learning “requires a lot more technology and more invitation, it’s more difficult to do group work and project-based work”. “It’s hard to keep students engaged” especially when they are in a new environment, surrounded by barriers. A social change Mr. McCoy says he experiences is the connection between the teacher and student. “When you crack a joke you can’t really tell if the student is smiling or laughing behind the mask.” This makes it hard to really see if “they are really figuring it out if I can’t see their facial expressions”. Mr. Murray stated that “student interaction has changed a little bit. I noticed that some students are quieter”. 

Although the pandemic is not as harsh as it was at the end of the last school year, many wonder what this effect might be in the future or five years from now. “It’s up to teachers and kids to put an effort”, says Mr. McCoy. “I think there is a positive effect on this new learning. We have learned so much new technology and I have been less paperless”, says Mr. Murray. This allows teachers to be more prepared for the future but also shows how teachers have adapted to these new conditions.   

The pandemic is not going to stop students and staff from learning and growing, even in this new environment. These conditions may be obstacles, but we are adapting and learning through these experiences. Although things would be better if everything was back to normal, everyone at Bethpage High School is doing their part and are hoping for norm