More Asynchronous Work Would Benefit Both Teachers and Students

Lucy Igoe, Staff Writer

It can be hard to imagine a time before the COVID pandemic struck and our world was turned upside down, but let me take you back. You would wake up while the sun was rising and the morning dew was glistening on the grass with barely enough time to shove some breakfast down your throat before throwing your backpack over your shoulder and running out the door. When you arrived at school, the same scene would greet you every morning: students filing in through the main entrance while teachers, standing on the steps with morning coffees in hand would greet them. 

Yes, we all dreaded school. Very few people would happily wake up before 7:30 am to sit in a building and have random equations and knowledge thrown at them for six hours a day, but I think we took it for granted more than we realized. School was a chance to get out of the house and interact with people who maybe you never imagined you would talk to. It was a chance to laugh with your friends, or join a club or count down the seconds until Friday when you would stand in the student section yelling at the top of your lungs. 

But COVID took that away from all of us. And as the cases went up, the once hybrid learning model turned into fully remote. All the good things about school were thrown out of reach. We were left with the same routine of staring at a screen for six hours a day as teachers did their best to get some knowledge into our tired minds. I understand that these precautions have to be taken because the pandemic is very serious, but being lectured at through a screen on Zoom every single day is not a good way to learn. I think it would be beneficial if teachers tried to fit more asynchronous work into their schedules so that students can have some breaks from Zoom. 

I know it is hard to ensure that students are actually doing the work and not just slipping back into the comforts of their beds or pulling up their favorite netflix show. But, if the work is due at the end of the period it will give students motivation to do it along with a break from staring at a screen. Being on a screen all day can strain your eyes and cause severe headaches.

It is very hard to focus on Zoom when your brain is so drained from having no time offline. It would help everyone if teachers  considered working asynchronous time into their schedule for the day. In some of my classes teachers have attempted this and it has worked very well. What they normally do is have everyone join the Zoom, take attendance and then explain the project or assignment that we will be working on for the day and allow people to go off Zoom to complete the work if they choose. I understand that this cannot happen everyday but I think that having some days where class is mostly asynchronous and off Zoom would benefit everyone. Teachers need a break from screens, too. 

For most students our only break throughout the long school day is the one hour allotted for lunch. But normally, this turns into less time because we have to prepare for the next Zoom and finish up last minute work from the last class before we can even begin to enjoy that short break. Everyone is struggling in these hard times and I think it is important to take that into account and give opportunities to switch up the day. With time away from Zoom students can have a break while still being productive and their days won’t be made up of sitting on a screen for over six hours. 

It has been hard for everyone to adjust to online learning and the immense amount of Zoom time that comes with it. Some people may say this is the only way to teach, but I believe that working asynchronous time away from Zoom into the school day would be beneficial to all.