On March 12, the city of Miami declared a state of emergency for its citizens resulting in the closure of all schools and nonessential businesses. Teachers and administrators have been working hard in order to continue teaching the curriculum as if it was still being taught inside the classroom. By using platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom, Edmodo, Khan Academy, Microsoft Teams and email, teachers are able to conduct distance learning for the duration of the school year.
Many students argue that the current workload given during this new online school curriculum is extensive. While some agree that the workload is manageable and necessary, there are other students who simply do not have the time nor access to electronic devices to keep up with the monstrous number of assignments. Teachers are trying their best to work with their student’s schedules, as students have multiple class presentations throughout the day via Zoom, an online video chat platform, and Microsoft Teams. Even though students are not the only ones affected by this sudden event, teachers should be considerate of their students’ situation and should take a more lenient approach when it comes to giving assignments. For many, it is difficult to manage the workload as it is now being conducted in an unfamiliar way.
Miami-Dade Public Schools has quickly adjusted to this current way of living by providing students and their families with learning resources such as school computers, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots if needed. In addition, meal distributions are conducted daily across the county ensuring all families have access to food. In light of this situation, everyone is managing quarantine differently and it must be understood that many do not have the same amount of time or available resources as others. As a result, teachers are now required to accept work past the deadline due to these unforeseen circumstances. This gives a chance to many students to turn in assignments later than the due date, which does not hurt their grade. Nevertheless, students still have to complete their assignments often with the distraction of other family members or while taking care of their own siblings.
“I do not have time for anything anymore. I wake up and there is always a new assignment on Google Classroom or Edmodo. There is no test so I honestly do not see the point of what they are preparing us for. Before the lockdown, we mostly took these classes with the objective of taking and passing the standardized test but now that there is nothing to prepare for,” sophomore Jaira Canteras said.
After further review and consideration, on March 17, the Florida Department of Education canceled all standardized tests, such as End of Course exams and Florida State Assessments. However, there is still a large portion of students who are taking Advanced Placement courses, completing the test virtually in May and June. In order to help these students, teachers and the College Board are trying their best to prepare them for their upcoming exams. The College Board has lessened the number of Units being tested, focusing on the ones taught earlier in the academic school year. Thousands of resources, free of charge, have been administered by the College Board like Youtube review videos for all APs. The majority of colleges have stated that this years APs will be taken into account when submitting applications. It is pertinent that all teachers reflect the same consideration and take into account the situation at the moment when planning their lessons.
“The teachers are either giving an unnecessary amount of homework or not paying attention to their students at all. most of my teachers give me an excessive amount of homework per week. Something that is very aggravating is when teachers aren’t organized with their work and never answer student’s questions when we need help,” sophomore Emma Hardie said.
Both teachers and students are trying to make the best out of this learning experience but it is important that teachers take into consideration these challenging circumstances for their students. The world is currently battling a difficult problem and as a result schools should lessen the workload given to students to the best of their ability. Learning is no longer the same as when school was open. There is no classroom setting and physical interactions, just long video conferences and endless assignments. It is important to acknowledge that even though this will not last forever, the least we can do is work together to make this situation easier to get through.