Thayer Zaeder, Instructor and Chair in Art
I don’t have a single remote student which is, after last term, quite a miracle actually. It’s a double blessing because teaching ceramics remotely was quite a challenge. [Ceramics is] a tool and material intensive discipline, and [teaching] that [online] was pretty hard. I had to mail kits to everybody and everybody was working from their own little home studios, so that was quite an interesting challenge. So class is going great; the thing that I’m noticing with in-person classes is the limited contact time, with just two 55-minute classes a week, [I don’t] have a lot of contact time with my students. That seems like the biggest drawback.
Stephanie Curci, Instructor and Chair in English (wrote in an email to the Phillipian)
I can only speak for myself… but I have loved having in-person classes. Those of us teaching in-person seem to really enjoy it, and those who are teaching remotely appreciate the consistency of seeing everyone’s full expressions. I too miss seeing kids’ entire faces (and having them see my expressions as well), and there were many aspects of Zoom –like Chat– that I miss, but it is so nice to see real people in person and not stare at a screen. To adjust to COVID[-19] regulations, we have mostly had to move out of Bulfinch [Hall], and other departments have been so kind about sharing their classrooms with us. Bulfinch classrooms, except for the Tirana room, are just too small to accommodate a full class, so we’ve been teaching in [Samuel Phillips Hall], Pearson [Hall], Gelb [Science Center], and the [Oliver Wendell Holmes Library].
Matthew Lisa, Instructor and Chair in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
I was able to teach in the fall and I had some Senior classes in the winter. It’s become apparent to me that students want to be in class, and obviously, the regular in-person [classes are] the best… That energy that I feel, I hope the students feel, by being in-person and being able to work with them; it just makes a world of [a] difference. Everything else I and my colleagues have needed to learn to do, like using cameras and microphones and speakers and iPads in different ways and maybe some other different technologies and applications have all been worth it… and I think there are things that we’re going to carry through going forward even when we’re in sort of non-pandemic times.
Keith Robinson, Instructor and Chair in Biology, Instructor in Chemistry
People have been more spread out throughout the room. I’m assigning seating. And so you just sort of work around them and make it work the way it is, so today, we were doing a lab in [Biology 100] and they were working in lab groups. So, they brought all their [equipment] to the tables and had their setups on their tables. It works [differently] with chemistry, which has individual setups, or a bit more spacing out across the labs because the spacing there is not as good. I found that it’s a little more awkward but it still works fine.
Elizabeth Meyer, Instructor in Classics, Division Head in World Languages (wrote in an email to The Phillipian)
Hyflex started out badly for my classes but has gotten a lot better. The biggest problem was with wifi; remote students kept getting dropped from the Zoom call. [The Office of Technology] was very responsive, and we haven’t had that problem lately. Another adjustment that made a vast improvement in our experience was a reshuffling of sections so that I have one fully in-person group, at least so far. The other section of that class is mostly remote, with 3 students in the classroom, and I conduct that class entirely on Zoom. Mr. Shows is absolutely extraordinary, and it’s difficult to imagine all this working without him at the helm of scheduling.
Bryan Jimenez Flores ’21, On-campus
[Spring Term classes have] been better than I thought they would be. I was initially really nervous about going back in person and not having a mute button and not being able to turn off my camera, but if I’m being completely honest with you, I missed it. It’s been north of a year since everyone’s been able to sit down, and just being amongst other people regularly has been great.
Jada Aryee ’22, On-campus
I think that all of my classes have been following [Covid-19] guidelines; in most of my classes when we come in we either clean the desks before we sit down or when we’re leaving and we all get hand sanitizer so if we need to share things in physics we can do that. The desks are also all evenly spaced so that also makes me feel better. I also think that the energy in class is just better than remote [classes], especially in [the] humanities where there [are] discussions. I have English in-person and history remote and I can definitely see the difference. History feels like you’re forced to speak and English feels like a discussion. In-person classes allow you to go to class without feeling like it’s a burden.
Chloe Kindangen ’23, Remote
[Classes feel] the same, especially because I was a remote for the last three terms, but I feel like this term, in particular, was a bit hard for me to adjust to socially because most of my friends [are] back on campus. But other than that, the teachers have been really understanding because there are just so [few] remote students in comparison to in-person students, and they’ve been reaching out to me and always telling me to join conference periods which makes me [feel] a lot better.
Layelle Abou-Ezzi ’24, On-campus
In math class, when you go up to the board, it does become very bunched up really quickly. Generally, I feel as though it’s fine because there’s not much they can do about that without hindering our learning experience. And, there’s always wiping down [and following other precautions]. For example, in math, we have our own markers which we aren’t supposed to share. So, generally, I think we’re fine, especially when we’re sitting down. There’s not much else we can do without sacrificing an aspect of our learning.