Virtual Madness – Struggles of E-Learning, from a Teachers’ Perspectives


Photo by Maya Randall

Debora Ballard monitoring student work

The sudden switch to online classes had Holy Cross in an unpredicted and difficult period. Students and teachers alike found it difficult to adjust to the online environment that followed the shut down, but teachers especially had the most difficulty balancing this to their teaching. 

Teaching classes in online and in a hybrid setting made it more difficult to notice when students needed help.

Maria-Rose Cain teaches technology classes at the Academy. “Unless a student speaks up and says I have a problem, you just don’t know because you’re not seeing the screen the student is working on,” Cain commented about the experience in tech subjects. “In many cases, you weren’t even seeing their faces.”

Although the coding classes Cain teaches requires just a computer, she still expressed her difficulty teaching class virtually during the pandemic. 

“That was so hard. Even though I don’t use hands-on things, I depend on being able to see students’ screens,” Cain said.

David Geiser is an engineering teacher at the Academy, and frequently uses technology in class, along with a mix of hands-on material. 

“I don’t know that it was frustrating, it was just different. In some ways it was easier. I had a large number of Google meetings. I got to work a lot more one on one with students,” Geiser commented.

Geiser shared a different perspective about the challenges of virtual teaching.

“The hardest part I think was trying to time the curriculum so that the stuff that had to be done in the classroom was done when we were hybrid,” Geiser added. “The only parts where I really had problems was when we switched with little warning.”

Geiser described how sometimes school suddenly shifted online at different times after longer breaks when families might travel out of town.

“I would characterize teaching last year as the most challenging teaching experience I’ve ever had,” AP U.S. Government teacher Maureen Morris said about teaching virtually. 

Morris’ experience teaching online class during the lockdown was difficult. She appreciated the school’s ability to switch to online class quickly and efficiently, but found it hard to get used to. 

“I think nothing can replace being together in the classroom,” Morris added.