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December 3, 2021 at 4:29 am #1392Catherine BallardParticipant
I am speaking from my own experience as a teacher who has taught at both public and private schools, with varying levels of resources given for the running of a regular school year. That said, during the pandemic, I have had the experience of teaching online and in person at the same time at a private school, and have seen in the news and talked to several public school teachers about their own experiences throughout the year.
At my private school, the learning online was done completely synchronously (unless there was a special case for an asynchronous class found on Canvas, the school’s LMS). In the beginning, we had classes completely over zoom. Problems with attendance were minimal, but we could never be sure the student was there without seeing their face. Even then, unless there was some mitigating factor, we could never be sure they were even paying attention. After the pandemic’s restrictions were eased, some students came back to the classroom, while others stayed at home. It was as difficult as expected. Now, all the students are back in the classroom, which is a huge load off the teachers’ plates.
Public schools had similar problems, but much, much worse. From my understanding, the pandemic threw the public school system through a loop. Students failed in massive numbers. Attendance was dismal. Some students stopped showing up altogether. Particularly during zoom classes, there was no onus to attend classes, turn in homework, or function at all. That’s not to say that public school students are somehow less motivated than private school students, but the resources available–as well as socioeconomic factors (bad internet, for example)–made it nigh impossible to keep the year as effective as in person.
The main difference in these two scenarios, as mentioned above, is the amount of resources that private schools have by virtue of being generally better off than public school students. We, as a private school, were able to give ipads, laptops, cameras, and other necessary AV equipment because of our wealth of resources. We were, and continue to be, very lucky in that this past year was not as dire as some. In order to support Hyflex models for all kind of student, we need an increase resources provided by the government for public schools
When both parents are working and not at home, the child cannot attend online classes, as they would be home alone. People who are working remote are still working, and cannot effectively help their kids with online courses, leaving many children to fend for themselves (read: not attend class). We need a fundamental paradigm change when it comes to childcare and internet access in the US.
December 5, 2021 at 4:07 pm #1394Brian BeattyKeymaster
Hi Catherine, I appreciate reading your perspective on this issue. I think you’ve explained a few very important differences in the experiences of teachers and students comparing public schools to private schools. I’ve taught in both as well, but never during a global pandemic – thank God!
I’m sure there are good examples of both types of schools that experience this differently (access to resources used effectively to support learning online and f2f at the same time) so the generalization of public vs. private is not globally accurate, but I get your point.
The private schools I taught at often had access to a more responsive resources network compared to the public sector. This makes that environment better equipped for quick change, perhaps. That might also be a factor in their comparative successes this past year or two.
I think there has likely been a more consistent desire to return to the classroom in many private schools compared to large public school districts. That was what I was hearing even in Summer 2020, and I think that led to more investment in HyFlex-supporting resources and faculty preparation in the private school sector. It seems that some of the larger public systems are beginning to invest more in supporting flexible learning opportunities since the need for this continues in many areas of the country and in many homes.
Thanks again for bringing this up!
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