At Camas High School, both students and staff have felt the pressure through the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Staff have been doing all they can to accommodate their students when it comes to schoolwork.
Biology teacher Cory Marshall said, “It (the workload) is incredibly less. There is so much we are simply not doing this year, particularly if it involves multi-day or multi-person work. If I can make something work for remote learning, I am probably giving students twice as long to make sure they can get it done. That means something’s got to go, hence the lower workload,” he added, “reduced the assignment load by around 50%, but everything we do is still graded essentially the same way.”
World history teacher Lori Thornton said, “The workload is definitely less than in the traditional setting; it seems most students have a hard time with time management and how that correlates to class time.”
Even though the teachers have confirmed that less work is being assigned due to these unusual circumstances, some students are still feeling overwhelmed.
Sophomore Landon Schmidt said, “The workload was very, very intense (at normal in-person school) and even though our entire way of doing school changed, the curriculum and workload stayed the same as if we were still in normal school.”
Sophomore Grace Duffey said, “For some classes, the workload feels the same and for others, it feels like a lot more.”
Some struggles with remote learning have definitely been more prevalent than others. Whether it is missing seeing students face to face, having difficulty finding a way to balance school and home life, or simply not being able to run classes like in the past.
Marshall said, “The labs, hands down, have been the most difficult. I know not all students can do the labs at home, even though we provided them with the equipment to do so. But I would say at minimum 80% of students just watch the lab video and do the lab based on the example I give them. It is fine and it might be necessary for the year, but I just don’t know that they’re actually learning anything from the lab in those circumstances.”
Sophomore Taylor Redmond said, “I think the workload is the same, but it feels like more because we have to do everything at home. Before home was for homework and relaxing (kinda) but now it feels like school and home have just mixed and I feel like I am doing more work just because I have to complete things like notes, which would normally be done in class, at home in addition to any assignments given.”
Staff shared what they miss about teaching in an in-person setting.
Marshall said, “I miss discussions. Either in the middle of a lab or when we’re lecturing on a new topic, I crave and design the class with some back-and-forth between myself and the students. This is the point of the year where students start to really feel comfortable with engaging during discussions normally, and it is just not happening this year on the same scale. I will get one or two students asking questions, but it is hard to get into broad discussions with a bunch of black rectangles.”
In agreeance, Thornton misses the connections she makes with students in the classroom. It has been difficult for her to form those relationships over Zoom.
Though these times have been difficult, students and staff are all doing their best to overcome and conquer all the hardships they may face.