Online vs In-person School: Teacher’s Edition

Rabeeah Khan and Arwa Tahir

Transitioning into an online schooling system was surely an immense change for all students, but what about the teachers? How did online schooling have an impact on our teachers and their ability to teach kids through a computer screen? For many, online school became a more efficient way of teaching and made their lives easier. On the other hand, it posed a struggle. Whether it was the lack of explaining material to students face-to-face, financial stress, or a lack of social interactions, online teaching wasn’t something teachers could comfortably adapt to. Although it may have been just an isolation at first, after a few months, it started to become a lifestyle.

The transition from in-person to online school for teachers meant immense change. The teachers had to adapt to a completely new style of teaching. They had to navigate and thoroughly understand how to use and work with websites like Google Classroom, Kami, Canvas, and Zoom. Not only did they have to learn it all for themselves, they also had to teach and explain how to use it to hundreds of students through a screen. It took a while for teachers and students to get comfortable with the technology usage. Adding on to all the technology use, teachers themselves struggled and also had to deal with students who were having internet connection issues. When students were either taking an exam or working on a group project, losing connection to the internet caused delays and inefficiencies. Although the use of technology may have made things like grading easier for teachers, it became a problem at times. When a website like Google Forms was incorrectly grading answers, the process ended up more inefficient, because teachers would then have to go through all the responses and grade them themselves.

Online school also negatively affected the personal lives of teachers. For instance, many teachers who attended school five days a week may have had children whom they dropped off at a daycare. When Covid-19 happened, for safety reasons, several daycares were forced to shut down for months. Many of those teachers then had to be responsible for both teaching material to hundreds of students and taking care of their kids, which may have added another load of stress.

Although the online schooling system over quarantine may have brought along frustration and hardships for teachers, it still had positive effects. Firstly, it allowed for a new, more efficient way of teaching for teachers who had a busy schedule, especially helping teachers who lived far away from school. For example, teachers who lived far away no longer needed to get up extra early to get ready and didn’t have to drive as many miles per day, saving them both time and money. Since school started later, teachers could also receive a good night’s rest and sleep in a little longer. Additionally, it’s self-evident that grading the work of several students takes a lot of time and patience. But with the help of websites like Google Forms and Canvas, teachers no longer had to worry about grading because technology did it for them. Saving all that time allowed teachers to work on other things or focus on personal matters.

After our recent transition back to in-person school, it’s no question that readjusting to the daily routines has been a task of its own. Therefore, we decided to interview two of our teachers whose classes we thought were some of the most affected online: Ms. Siegler and Mr. Duran. The questions we asked and the responses we received are listed below.

Interview Questions and Responses: Ms. Siegler – English I


What was the hardest and easiest part of teaching online?

“The hardest part of teaching online was being on Zoom for more than 7 hours a day. After the Zoom meetings, I was so exhausted and drained. The easiest part was speaking without being interrupted.”


What was your favorite and least favorite part about teaching online?

“My favorite part about teaching online were the conversations I had with my students over Zoom. My least favorite part was trying to teach a class while seeing students who looked bored, uninterested, or occupied by something else, and sometimes, students who had their cameras off, because it was discouraging, especially after a long day.”


What did you miss most about teaching in person?

“I missed social interactions and seeing students’ faces the most.” 


Do you prefer online or in-person school?

“I prefer in-person school.”


How did online school affect Link Crew (a committee of juniors/seniors who help freshmen with their transition into highschool)?

“It was harder for students to connect with each other. It took longer for students to get to know their new classmates and get comfortable with turning on their microphones to communicate. Students missed out on many traditional in-person activities for Link Crew. “

Interview Questions and Responses: Mr. Duran – Life Skills and Entrepreneurship

What was the hardest and easiest part of teaching online?

The hardest part of teaching online was connecting to the students. The cameras were not always on, so talking to the students without any visual connection made things difficult. Many of the students didn’t seem to be comfortable turning on their microphones and cameras to communicate with me and the rest of their classmates. The easiest part was grading assignments and tests and explaining topics without an interruption because I could mute the students.


What was your favorite and least favorite part about teaching online?

My favorite part about teaching online were the conversations I had with students who didn’t usually talk, through the microphone and over Zoom’s built-in chat. It seemed like some of the students were more comfortable communicating over Zoom. My least favorite part was not being able to interact with my students face-to-face, it made me feel disconnected with them.


What did you miss most about teaching in person?

I missed social interactions, like greeting and talking to students when I saw them walking in the halls.


Do you prefer online or in-person school?

I prefer in-person school.


How did online school affect your Life Skills class?

It became harder for myself to be as enthusiastic and lively. I felt like I was using much more energy than I normally would. Communicating through Zoom made everyone feel less connected to each other than if we were communicating in person. Students had the flexibility to keep their cameras and microphones turned off, causing discussions to be harder to start.


After interviewing these teachers, it is clear that they also faced many similar challenges, along with advantages, while teaching online. However, it’s obvious that they prefer in-person school for many strong reasons.