The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Quarantine Check-In with SLOHS Teachers


  As the end of the 2019-20 school year nears, many students and teachers have shifted their attention to how the future at San Luis Obispo High School will look. Expressions got in contact with a few SLOHS teachers to hear their hopes and predictions for the new school year, as well as check in to see how distance learning has been for them.

  Expressions: As we approach the end of the year, how do you feel online instruction has been for yourself and for your students?

  Video Production and Digital Photography Teacher Zach Roper:  I think we’ve been making the best of a very difficult situation! I’ve tried to make my classes more flexible and open for each of my students so that they can complete them at their own pace, but also stay accountable and stay in contact a couple of times each week. The hardest part for sure has been not being together in the computer lab—I miss seeing everyone in person!

  American Sign Language Teacher Kristen Nusbaum: As we approach the end of this school year and close-out our pandemic distance learning adventure, I would say that we did the best we could with what we had.  We quickly established a mode by which we could all carry-on. 

  Math Teacher Jimmie Johnson: I can tell my students and I are craving more interaction, but the content is still getting through. One positive is that students can submit work and ask questions in a way that is more private, and thus less intimidating. Although some students are having a hard time managing their time and procrastination, I think the fluid, at-your-own-pace type of day has been a positive.

  English Teacher Ivan Simon: [Many students] have handled online learning well as demonstrated by answering AP Lit prompts, exchanging peer editing, reading Brave New World, and zooming with me as a class. I also have given detailed feedback on essays to all 99 AP Lit students preparing for the AP Exam. An obvious downside certainly has been our inability to have the daily “human interaction” the Pleasure Palace of Learning provides.

  Expressions: How do you feel about returning to on-campus instruction?

  Roper: I’m definitely looking forward to being back on campus again! There’s so much new construction and I think we’re all going to be so greatful to have a common place again. I’m still very nervous about social distancing and making sure everyone stays healthy and safe though, so I don’t want to rush if we aren’t ready.

  Nusbaum:  We will all need to wait for direction from Governor Newsom before life on campus can proceed.  With that said, I am wholly looking forward to returning to be with my students and fellow staff members!  The SLOHS pool looks amazing, and each campus improvement brings so much joy to us all. 

  Johnson: I am hopeful for a return to campus at the traditional time. As a teacher, I have had school all my life; it is what makes me feel comfortable, the sense of connection and energy that comes from working with young and talented individuals. I am not looking forward to bathroom passes. Or sick students coming to school. Let’s all agree to STAY HOME if you are sick. 

  Simon:  I look forward to conversations and discussions in person with students, the physical feel of books, and the smell of chalk dust in the morning. On the other hand, I have appreciated waking without an alarm.

  Expressions: Do you see SLOHS returning to campus in the fall?

  Roper: I don’t know what it will look like yet, but I hope we have some virus testing in place for the beginning of the year, so that if someone does get sick we can do contact tracing and take the appropriate steps to keep everyone healthy!

  Nusbaum: No one knows about any return-to-campus information.  This is a GIANT “let’s wait and see.”  We will all need to exercise patience and common sense. 

  Johnson: Since a return to school as we have known it in August seems unlikely, I would like to see us experiment with an open campus concept. Maybe two days a week required for those with a C or better, but a greater requirement for our struggling students. 

  Simon: We are being told to plan to resume school in August. I would like to see smaller classes in English. Of course, I always would like to see smaller class sizes in English.

  Expressions:  Do you think it’s possible that online instruction will become a regular occurrence in combination with normal in-class instruction?

  Roper: I think there’s certainly opportunities for that. If it means my students can have more flexibility to complete interesting photo and video projects, I’m all for it! My biggest concern is that we need to have some significant in-person component though, because we need that hands-on time with equipment and software and for building the social “soft skills” for working as a team. I don’t want online learning to completely replace in-person teaching.

  Nusbaum: Online instruction is common these days (SLOHS offers APEX, for example), so I would not be surprised to see increased online learning become more mainstream.

  Johnson: It does seem that online instruction has some benefits, but I think it lacks the nuance of live lecture/lab/discussions. Fortunately, we had completed 99% of our original instruction in Calculus before March 13. We are the lucky ones, most other schools still have a bulk of content left that has forced the college board to modify the exam for this year.

  Simon: Some teachers and students may prefer to see more online instruction. I do not want to continue long distance learning.

  Expressions: Finally, do you have any advice or words of encouragement for your students?

  Roper: Seize this time and make the most of it! As scary and uncertain as things are, you are living through an incredibly unique era in history – where the world has literally been put on pause for a time. USE THIS TIME! Follow your interests, learn a new skill, connect with your family and friends. And when this whole thing gets under control, think about how we can start over for the better – there’s no reason we have to go “back to normal” if normal wasn’t working in the first place!

  Nusbaum: Regarding advice for students: stay healthy, care for your community, buy local, and remember that we are here to support, love, and guide you even if it is from a distance.

  Johnson: I posted as an assignment for my students to post an inspirational quote. The submissions were fantastic. It was the first time I was actually excited to see an email with the heading ‘Google Classroom.’ Although there are too many to print here, this is the winner for me (as a huge Beastie Boys fan), which was posted by Justin Hatcher, the current President of the Mr. Jimmie Johnson Fan Club on Instagram. The quote is: “You think the story’s over, but it’s ready to begin.” – Mike D (taken from Paul Revere)

  Simon: Give yourself time away from your screens. While we are under shelter at home, get outdoors daily (of course practicing safe social distancing) and enjoy the Pleasure Palace of Nature. Nature, after all, is the Original Pleasure Palace of Learning.

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