Virtually Teaching and Rocking It: A COVID “Normal”

Teachers at Home During Quarantine


Courtesy of Mr. White

Mr. White shows off his teaching station, where he taught for the majority of the 2020-2021 pandemic school year, at his home.

When school shut down a year ago due to the pandemic, no one expected what life looks like right now. Although Lakeland Regional High School has been mostly hybrid learning since September 8, 2020, there are still some students and teachers that are full remote. Hearing this for the first time, you may wonder how teachers can teach kids in the classroom while they are at home. This is something that has been normalized for a few teachers at LRHS during today’s new times. We interviewed some remote teachers to see how they feel about their new style of teaching. 

Mr. Gregg White, a business teacher at LRHS, explained why he made the decision to teach remotely this school year. “The CDC released a list of people that would likely have severe illness if they contracted COVID-19. I met the qualifications to be considered at severe risk,” he said in the interview. 

When interviewing Ms. Laura Fucilli, an English teacher at LRHS, she explained that the last day she was in the building was March 6, 2020, since she was out with the flu. Like many of us, she explained that she knew there was a pandemic going around, so she wasn’t surprised that they closed for two weeks, but once we hit week three, she knew we were in it for the long haul. Her main worry was being able to keep everyone safe while not having to sacrifice education, as she stated, “I was happy to at least be able to connect with my students virtually.” 

Mr. White says he definitely did not expect this to be the result a year later when he got the message on March 13, 2020 to take his belongings home for two weeks. However, he is thankful the vaccine is being administered, as many of us are too. He shared, “Thankfully the vaccine is being administered and the effectiveness is very high against contracting the virus once vaccinated.” 

When it comes to COVID-19 and quarantining, there can be many pros and cons. It was interesting to see how Ms. Fucilli and Mr. White explained their views on the pros and cons of this situation. 

Ms. Fucilli started with the pros, and explained how she loves that virtually teaching means she can connect with her students from anywhere in the world. She stated, “I have a student who’s learning from abroad in another country, and we are still able to talk to one another and learn at the same time as a class, so I think that is truly remarkable.” She says she also enjoys how Google Classroom is user friendly, and makes it very easy to keep track of her students’ work. 

Mr. White says one of the pros is how he has stayed safe and reduced the potential of getting the virus, as if he was in person at school. He also says he enjoys, “The challenge in creating engaging curriculum assignments for remote learning. I believe it has made me a better teacher having to evolve to meet this education environment.” 

In terms of cons, Mr. White stated that the biggest one to him is the lack of face to face daily contact. Another big one that Mr. White shares is , “the challenge in creating engaging curriculum assignments for remote learning. The creation of assignments to meet this education environment has been a significant time investment.” Lastly, he explained that another con of this current situation, is the difficulty of getting the students to engage in remote discussions. 

Ms. Fucilli states that the hardest part for her is that students can’t always see each other if they are too shy to turn on their cameras. A big part of her teaching involved pair or group work, and that is much more challenging to do virtually. She also said, “Teaching in person allows for more free-flowing discussions and more participation. Being in person and discussing topics together can also enliven discussions, so the virtual setting has some limitations in regards to the overall atmosphere of the classroom.” 

Another unique challenge that Ms. Fucilli faces at home everyday, is teaching while taking care of a toddler. While enforcing routines and naptime for her son has made it more manageable, she stated that there are some days where she has no choice but to have him in the background or even on her lap during class discussions when her husband is on a conference call, as he works from home as well. 

During the interview she stated, “Today, my son poured a container of staples on the floor as I was teaching in the office with him in the background for a block, and I had to just sit there and ignore it so I didn’t derail my lesson.” 

As this may seem like a huge con, Ms. Fucilli stated that it shows her students the reality of balancing both home and school life, while adding a bit of humor to the classroom. “I think when these moments happen, it shows my students that we [as teachers] are not always in control, but we can still learn to adapt and roll with it when unexpected things happen during a Google Meet. I know my students run into challenges during meets when internet troubles occur or people are talking in the background, and we all have to be understanding of one another and accept the circumstances that are beyond our control.”.

Ms. Fucilli feels that we have all learned from this experience, and that in itself is  a positive after all. 

As LRHS’s knowledgeable Ms. Fucilli stated, she is grateful for this time of teaching remotely and all it has taught her. She provides a great way to look at a not so great situation. In her words, “It will make for a great story one day too because how many people can say that they taught from home while wrangling a toddler for over a year and survived to tell the tale?” 

Update: Great news! Thanks to the vaccine, many teachers who were teaching from home have come back or plan to come back during the 4th marking period.