‘I wish my teacher knew…’: Students offer ideas on how to better future distance learning experiences

December 21, 2020 /

With winter break beginning, students can finally breathe after completing an entire semester of full distance learning.

Most students have not been inside a classroom for almost ten months, since stay-home orders were first initiated. The abrupt change forced many to adapt, and multiple areas of their lives clashed all in one environment. 

To help students, teachers and professors better future distance learning experiences for everyone, Kern Sol News interviewed both high school and college students about their experience and asked for advice on what could be improved.  

Kern Sol News asked local students what they wish their teachers/professors knew about the distance learning experience. Here’s what they had to say: 

“I wish that professors would put themselves in the shoes of not just specific generalization of ‘students’ but different cultures of students. Even though they said they understood that things were hard, circumstances are different for each person and their background. I would have classmates where their parents understood that they would have school and would respect their time, but personally my family never respected my school time. They need to have more opportunities for students with different home lives.”

— Isela, a sophomore in college

“Educators should evaluate their own mistakes when looking back on this chaotic semester. Teachers and professors alike should be more thoughtful and compassionate as that is what is required most from teachers now that many students are basically self taught during distance learning.” 

— Matthew, a high school senior 

“For the upcoming school days after break and when finals are placed, I would like for my teachers to understand why I have questions regarding the problems they give me because during the stay at home virtual learning, it’s hard to visualize what they are teaching, and sometimes I need extra help with sisters. And to understand if it logs me off the Zoom, so I won’t get accused for cheating or just being lazy. Wifi is a struggle depending on what part of the house I am in and of how many people are using it since people in my family are also doing school work as well. Besides those things, I think having mics on or cameras will be a struggle too if family members are making noise or construction is taking place nearby, and by that teachers should be understanding. 

— Precious, a high school freshman 

“I would like teachers and professors to understand that the at home environment is a lot more difficult to work in then being in a on campus environment, we are surrounded by many distractions and something that we would normally be able to complete in a class period can take us hours to complete at home because it is very difficult to focus on our classwork.”

-Courtney, a college freshman 

“So professors need to know that our employers know that we are not in school [physically] so they are not as easy on us when asking for time off. Our family sometimes doesn’t even get that, just because school is online doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. We are not off school.” 

-Katey, college sophomore

“With the shift online, I hope professors will keep their line of communication open by investing time for office hours and answering emails. Not every student can attend office hours, but if they can it’s really helpful to keep it consistent and encourage students to go. Many students are struggling in online learning so email is key to keeping that connection in asking questions. A teacher of mine had a discord chat for their course and that proved to be helpful for students to respond to each other and for the teacher to answer as well.

— Celeste, a college sophomore