Educators teaching online and in person at the same time feel burned out

The pandemic has led many schools to offer both classroom and virtual instruction, but teachers say doing both concurrently is exhausting.

10/18/2020 8:26:00 PM

The pandemic has led many schools to offer both classroom and virtual instruction, but teachers say doing both concurrently is exhausting.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led many schools to offer both classroom and virtual instruction, but teachers say doing both concurrently is exhausting.

Michael Loccisano / Getty ImagesOct. 18, 2020, 8:30 AM UTCBySafia Samee AliEvery weekday morning, Paul Yenne sets up five different devices — including two laptops, an iPhone and a screen-caster that projects videos to a large screen — to get ready for the 19 fifth-grade students who come to his classroom and the six who log on from home.

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The Colorado school district where Yenne works offers in-person and online classes simultaneously, with one teacher responsible for both as theCovid-19 pandemictouches every facet of education.Yenne, 31, delivers the day’s lesson, his eyes continuously darting between the students in front of him and those stacked on a virtual grid on a laptop at the front of the room.

Despite his desire to create a seamless classroom experience for both groups, one inevitably gets left out, he said. If the technology breaks down, his classroom students have to wait until he fixes it, and if there's an in-person issue, it's the other way around, he said.

“The most exhausting thing is just to try and hold attention in two different places and give them at least somewhat equal weight,” he said. “What kind of wears on me the most is just thinking, 'I don't know that I did the best for every kid,' which is what I try and do every day when I go in."

While most K-12 schools have chosen to go either online or in person at one time, the double duty model is among the most labor-intensive, according to education experts. Yet it's increasingly becoming the new norm around the country, and with less than a quarter of the school year down, many teachers say they're already exhausted.

They have received little training and resources are scarce, they say, but they worry that speaking up could cost them their jobs.”I think that kind of exhaustion we had from last year has kind of compounded as now we're being asked to do essentially two jobs at once,” Yenne said. “The big question right now is, 'How long can we continue doing this?'"

Afraid to speak outWhile many schools call this form of teaching “hybrid,” experts label it “concurrent teaching” or “hyflex," modes originally designed for university and graduate-level students.Brian Beatty, an associate professor at San Francisco State University who pioneered the hyflex program, said it was designed to have more than a single mode of interaction going on in the same class and typically involves classroom and online modes that can be synchronous or asynchronous.

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The aim was to provide students not in the classroom with as good an educational experience as those who were, and it was intended for students who chose to be taught that way on a regular or frequent basis, he said. The model was created for adults at the undergraduate and graduate level who made the choice and were able to manage themselves.

“The context of the situation at the elementary level is so different than the situation that we designed this for," he said."A lot of the principles can work but challenges are also a lot more extreme, especially around managing students.”A teacher at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 teaches students attending class in person in New York City on Oct. 1.

Michael Loccisano / Getty ImagesSophia Smith, a literary enrichment teacher for kindergarten through third-grade students in Des Plaines, Illinois, said her elementary school allowed little time for training and planning before teachers were thrust into the dual mode.

She said 40 percent of her students are online, and she spends much of her time going back and forth between online and classroom students, leaving little time for meaningful instruction."It's extremely chaotic," she said, adding that if school officials were to visit her classroom, they would understand how their decisions about hybrid education really affected teachers.

Smith worries the model will become an accepted norm, mostly because teachers who are struggling to keep up are scared to speak out.“We're afraid to lose our jobs," she said."We're afraid that the district will come back and treat us differently or say things differently, like, 'Nobody else is complaining, so why is it you?'"

Smith said she is speaking up now because she wants other teachers to feel more comfortable doing so.Matthew Rhoads, an education researcher and author of"Navigating the Toggled Term: Preparing Secondary Educators for Navigating Fall 2020 and Beyond," said schools added a livestream component to their curriculum in a panicked effort to offer an online choice to families. But much of the implementation was not thought out, he said, leaving teachers to deal with the fallout.

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Teachers are beyond exhausted, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers unions in the country.“This is the worst of all worlds,” she said. “The choice to do that came down to money and convenience, because it certainly wasn’t about efficacy and instruction.”

Long-term consequencesDavid Finkle, a ninth-grade teacher at a Florida high school, said he has not been able to sleep despite being depleted of energy after a full day of online and in-person instruction. The veteran teacher of nearly 30 years stopped running, writing creatively and doing any of the other activities he enjoys when school began in August.

“It's been very hard for me to focus on my other creative stuff outside of school because school is wiping me out," he said, adding that it's difficult to keep up with grading because it takes so long to plan lessons for the two groups."I wish I could focus on one set of students," he said.

Read more: NBC News »

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If elected EVERY DAY for all 3 months he is in office, before Pelosi has him removed using the 25th Amendment, will be devoted to impeaching Joe Biden for his roll as leader of the Biden Family Crime Syndicate. What we did in Melbourne is online teaching and schools open for kids of essential workers etc but the kids did online learning at school. It was bloody hard work for everyone but the teachers parents and kids were all amazing.Kids are now back at school.

What we did in Melbourne is online teaching and school open for kids of essential workers but they did online learning as well. Oh, boo hoo. Try being a logger then. And why is she wearing a mask at home? Schools in my sisters county sent an email saying children can come back to classrooms..the next day they sent an email retracting because many of the faculty tested positive for covid..

Wow 😳 Books are out of date maybe Well then maybe they should have been plumbers Kids dont learn through a computer. JOE BIDEN AND HIS SON ARE CRIMINALS I sense a protest coming on 우리 주님께서 오십니다. 메시아께서 오십니다. I can fully understand that exhaustion. Virtual instruction should be the sole path for classes during this pandemic.

Give them a raise! No matter what you do, teachers will complain. Please reasarch yourself in Quran

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