Teachers Face Difficulties and Distractions Amid Virtual Classes


James Formato

Science Department Chair James Formato made an at-home setup for the classes that he teaches. In this picture, he has a monitor, a document camera, a stylus and other tools to ensure that he is well equipped for virtual learning. Photo courtesy of James Formato.

Jake Lieberman, Staff Writer

Imagine teaching a class on Zoom and having Wi-Fi issues, with children making a fuss and pets barking at a mailman in the background— many teachers are dealing with new challenges this year. Each teacher has a different perspective about the pros and cons of teaching from their homes. 

Menlo teachers have the option to teach from school campus. They are also provided with a daycare and space for their children. “We also are using the on-campus supervised study spaces at Menlo, which helps change up the routine and scenery some,” engineering and physics teacher James Formato said in an email to The Coat of Arms. It is extremely difficult to teach and learn from the same location every day of the week, experts say.

In contrast, other teachers find that virtual learning has not been as problematic. “I get to work at home from Morgan Hill. I miss campus and seeing people, but [it] saves me two plus hours of commute time and allows me to really focus on my work,” English teacher Whitney Newton said in an email to The Coat of Arms.

Some teachers also don’t just need to prepare for their individual classes — they also need to focus on their children’s school as well. “This is the hardest thing I have had to navigate in my entire professional and personal life between my schedule and my two sons’ schedules. I’m finding that coordinating their days is a full-time job,” Spanish teacher Janet Tennyson said in an email to The Coat of Arms. Her sons are in the second and fifth grades.

With online school happening around the country, there have been teachers who have resigned because they cannot and do not want to teach in an online setting.

COVID-19 has changed the lives of countless people, and various jobs have also been affected by the pandemic. From being a teacher, to running a restaurant, to being a sports athlete, COVID-19 has affected individuals in numerous occupations.