Hybrid Stress

Teacher comments on hybrid learning strategies

Hybrid Stress

Isaac Hudson, Publication Editor

It’s no secret that a lot of the students at BVHS do not prefer the hybrid model over a fully in-person or all online schedule. 60% of surveyed students said they preferred to be all in-person or all online over 40% who prefer hybrid. It seems that a lot of the frustrations students have with the hybrid schedule are mirrored by the struggles that it has put on teachers, which many students often forget.

With the constant burden of lesson planning and grading assignments, Latin teacher Joseph McDonald feels hybrid has not advantaged anyone involved.

“The pressure that it puts on me as a teacher, with the planning in hybrid mode, has forced me to reevaluate lesson planning, strategies and things that I want to do,” McDonald said. “That’s going to be an effect that will carry back into a full in-person setting. It’s probably a benefit [to me right now], even if it’s not a net benefit [overall]. That pressure makes you rethink things that you otherwise wouldn’t be inclined to rethink.”

There are lots of assignments and activities that McDonald simply cannot incorporate with his classes due to the hybrid format.

“[Aspects such as] the basic language practice — that is in many ways the bread and butter of the Latin classroom — [are] just impossible online,” he said. “In a hybrid format, [they] have to be greatly curtailed.”

McDonald teaches several Latin classes every day and has witnessed first-hand how the stress affects his pupils.

“It’s not because what I’ve been asking of students has been more difficult,” McDonald said. “If it’s an assignment that you have to turn in, and you’re sitting in your basement versus when a teacher is standing right in front of you, it’s a lot easier to ignore it. I totally get that — it’s kind of endemic to the format.”

This year, McDonald believes students abuse their leverage of turning in late assignments and still being able to get partial or even full credit.

“…with the planning in hybrid mode, [it] forced me to reevaluate lesson planning, strategies and things that I want to do.””

— Joseph McDonald, Latin teacher

“I imagine it’s frustrating for everybody to have low grades, but it’s mostly because students didn’t do something,” McDonald said. “It’s easier for them to make it up at the end of the year, term, unit or whatever. That’s a positive thing, but unfortunately, it’s cheating students of the education in timeliness and punctuality — which is one of the big benefits of an institutional school.”

With new responsibilities and academic restlessness imposed on him due to the hybrid format, McDonald describes the difficulty of establishing lessons.

“[Planning] has been really, really affected,” he said. “That’s a pretty bland way
of putting it. It’s been much more difficult because having to plan for students being out of class versus in class is challenging to say the least.”

McDonald said there have been a few benefits and positive outcomes from the hybrid school format.

“I think in some ways it makes aspects of the lessons easier because it incentivizes [me to do] things like making a video to introduce or summarize a lesson, and that can help students who use that resource. It also pushed me to use other tools [and] capabilities of Canvas and similar platforms. [It has pushed me to] use them more than I would have been inclined to otherwise outside of the hybrid format.”