In this obviously abnormal school year, students and faculty members alike are finding new ways to adapt to the current circumstances. Some of the foundations of learning; communication and participation, have been turned on their head with this new format. All of us students have created distinct habits and responded differently to the bizarre circumstances. Furthermore, we can all agree there are specific positives and negatives to online school. For example, I think we all can agree the extra sleep is a fantastic upside and the lack of interaction with classmates is a terrible downside. However, life for teachers and faculty is extremely different too. Mr. McDougall, a long-time teacher at Bellarmine, has commented on the upsides and downsides of online teaching.
Mr. McDougall believes that all things considered, online school is going well. Despite being less than ideal, Mr. McDougall stated that things have basically gone in the best possible direction given the world around us. When asked about downsides, he stated that developing relationships as a community has become much more difficult. As a school, Bellarmine has always put a huge emphasis on community. With everyone only connecting through their own ends and by their own means, it is easy to feel separate from the Bellarmine community. This is one of the reasons why Mr. McDougall believes that his personal style of teaching has not translated well to the online format. He stresses students working in pairs and developing personal connections with one another. Although breakout rooms do allow us students to communicate with one another as friends and as peers, learning and conversing person to person cannot be simulated. However, Mr. McDougall also stated that there are some positives with this new online format. Due to how Microsoft Teams is run, we all ultimately are forced to listen to each other more. As a result, a platform is given to people whose voice otherwise might not be heard.
Despite being separated, it is important that we remember how we all are members in a community. Each faculty member is finding positives and negatives in this new format. Clearly, we are all in the same boat when it comes to navigating the waters of school amidst the pandemic.