By Dante Dellaporta, Staff Writer
Teachers and professors throughout the Long Island school systems have been facing a multitude of newfound hurdles as they attempt to adapt their teachings to meet precautions that have been set in place upon the arrival of the COVID-19 virus and the challenges brought with it. As we begin a new semester, teachers have begun to acclimate themselves in their adjusted classrooms.
As expected, the recent changes have not gone over well with many educators’ across New York State. Upon the commencement of the fall 2020 school year, many educators across the state have reported similar difficulties that they have encountered when it comes to facilitating their lectures, and doing their job as they normally would.
Normal feels like yesterday for some professors and teachers, and many of them dream to return to a school system in which COVID-19 ceases to debilitate their teaching procedures. Each school district across New York State faces its own set of individualized hurdles. Factors such as funding, well-trained teachers, educational resources, as well as proper care and consideration for the circumstances given, vary greatly between schools.
School districts with less financial resources and poorly trained teachers are facing much larger challenges than students who have been fortunate enough to be provided with laptops at the school district’s expense. Each district faces its own challenges, and continues to define their own version of normal.
Plainedge High School mathematics teacher Andrea Lupo explained her district’s immediate problems, as they have been encountering an unforeseen number of problems, during this school year. “The worst transition I’ve ever experienced in 21 years of teaching,” said Lupo. “The building itself was a mess and the whole gymnasium was filled with our file cabinets, our desks and materials and we had to go find them from the pile.”
“The technology was not working or ready in working order for us to do our jobs, and we’re still working out the kinks,” Lupo said. There was confusion surrounding the chromebooks that were given to students. Some students’ chromebooks allowed for touch screen controls, while others didn’t have this functionality. Students encountered several problems at home, including internet connection issues, as well as their chromebooks not functioning properly.
In tandem with the continued stress that the global pandemic has provided for people, it’s no surprise that educators all over the state are continuing to face new difficulties within their occupations.
Seaford Middle School biology teacher Micheal Shaqatano had similar comments regarding his transition into the fall 2020 school year. Shaqatano said that the school year “is very, very challenging and difficult, and you’re kinda thrown into it, and figuring things out as you go along.” There have been an immense amount of changes when it comes to the science department, and it’s facilitation of laboratory activities and projects. Students have shifted classrooms, and are not studying and using the laboratory classrooms. “We need access to water, and now we’re in a regular classroom, and any water I need has to be wheeled in on a cart that’s in a beaker.”
The laboratory classrooms are currently being used for students special testing requirements. “We spend the first fifteen to twenty minutes troubleshooting problems that each of the students have with their chromebooks,” Shaqatano said. This school year has provided no shortage of problems and hiccups for educators as they simply continue and try their best to get by these next few semesters.
When asked about his experience, professor of film Michael Atkinson said “Mostly, it’s like trying to teach with an asbestos suit on – but I’m adapting, as you must, and stubbornly refusing to give the masks, barriers, distancing and Zooming a priority in my head or in the classroom. Everybody must try a little harder, including the students, and so far that’s what I see happening.”