Who's Zooming Who? KAPA MAG Hard Copy Feature Story (Spring 2021)
It is an understatement to say that times have changed! It has been one year since the coronavirus spread throughout the world and refashioned the ways in which we were so accustomed to living, working and playing.
As every article in life has been affected by the virus, I can't think of any more devastating and distressing as our education system's transformation and the impact it has been on our keiki.
KAPA wanted to take the time to report on our school children and ask the question, who is zooming who? Are our children getting what they need, want and can handle from the changes of in person education to online learning? Who is in control? Are the kids' online learning monitored, measured, respected, supported? How do you know if your keiki is thriving? While KAPA is not here to answer, unfold or ridicule our educational system, we think it important and necessary to support our keiki, their process and their feelings.
Going online for education, work and misc needs, brought about many challenges requiring new methods of facing any task at hand! We began our conversation with Spanish professor. Keahi Salvador about his thoughts from the teaching perspective of online learning and the
affect it has had on himself and many other teachers across the globe.
Keahi Salvador holds 20 years of experience in the Spanish Department as a Chair Spanish
Language Professor at Kapiolani Community College. A true role model in the world of learning,
he tells us about what teaching means to him and how he looks at it from an inspiring, broader
perspective: “Teaching to me is something that I enjoy, it is not work. I love being in the classroom and I look at it as being of service to my students. I know that the majority of my students are not going to be Spanish majors but my goal is to inspire, support and to motivate my students to see that their future is limitless. If I can reach just one student and show them that they have value, that they matter, and can achieve great things in their life then I have done my job.
Being a local boy from Hawaii I take pride in my work and want to show other local kids that
they can do great things and accomplish whatever they set their minds to. I really think it’s
important that they see positive role models in positions like professors, doctors etc. so they
can say ‘If he/she can do it, why not me?’ Representation matters!”
As have many others, Salvador has made the switch to online learning this past school year and he tells us that at first he was hesitant and thought it would be impossible to teach language on
the computer, As with anything else through trial, error and collaboration with his students, all parties had gotten better and better. In fact, he gives us the scoop on how he initially went into the online learning realm, saying “When I first started I told my students that the success of our class would be both of our responsibility, and so we have been learning and helping each other to have a more interactive
and well-rounded experience.”
While some may not particularly enjoy the new online learning experience, Salvador thinks there is a place for zoom classes online and that even as things begin to go back to normal he is sure there’s an online option that will continued to be offered.
After all, people learn in different ways, and some might just thrive in the online environment.
As a fashion magazine, we always want the inside details of wardrobe, so we wanted to know how the switch to online school has affected what Salvador wears to work from home!
He found this rather humorous, telling us “Lol, just like everyone else working from home I am in sweat pants and pajamas most of the time - haha just kidding. I have saved money on my work wardrobe for sure. I get dressed up every once in a while just for a change haha. Instead of
shorts and a t-shirt.”
With online learning, Salvador tells us that he misses the face to face interaction and personal
connection with his students that came with in person teaching. But he says that even on the
computer, he has gotten better with building rapport and trust with his students.
He reminds us that again, being a teacher is more than just teaching, saying “I really believe it’s an awesome responsibility that I take seriously knowing that I can look back at my education
and see some of the tremendous teachers I have had that truly impacted my life and believed in
me at times when I didn’t even believe in myself.”
His biggest takeaway as a teacher from the online switch to virtual learning this semester is that we all can grow as students and teachers. Finishing with words that can inspire each of us, he says, “We all must continue to adapt, learn and change with the times. We must engage our students and there is always a way to be better and to serve my students to the best of my ability.”
An encouraging message to all, we can take this advice with us and strive to not only be better
but do better for others during these ever-changing times.
We reached out to middle and high school students local to Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Kauai to hear their thoughts on this abrupt way of learning and how it has affected them the last few semesters.
Students continue to take their classes on Zoom, Google meets and/or Webex. Most reported to be either happy or bored, or a combination of the two, while on an online lesson. We asked what they liked and disliked about school, and surprisingly many actually, initially, enjoyed doing schoolwork from home as it allowed them to go at their own pace and gave them more time to spend at home with family.
One of the downsides, however, is not being able to see their friends at school. I think we can imagine that going from seeing friends at school in person, every day to working and listening through a screen, would be quite the adjustment for a kid. Students also said to have struggled with online learning itself, as it made it challenging for them to understand and learn the material, making the class difficult.
When asked whether they would rather be in school or online learning, the majority answered
in school, for reasons including meeting new people, more interactions and activities, and
hands on learning that makes it easier to focus.
“It was so boring that I couldn’t do my work” - KAPA was told by an Oahu 6th grader!
A small few did appreciate online learning, as they felt that they could stay better organized, focused, and have more time to do other things.
Because parents often play a big role in students’ learning, we wanted to know what their parents were doing during zoom school lessons. Many said that their parents were at home doing their own work, while some also helped by cooking food and encouraging them to focus. A student reported that their parents were upset that they weren’t doing well, as the adjustment from physical learning to full distance learning was hard on the student.
Most of the parents helped while getting prepared for online classes as well. This goes to show
that we really are all in this together and most success comes from supporting one another to
make any learning experience work!
We couldn’t finish without asking about the students’ wardrobes for learning and what they
wore while on zoom! Many of them missed dressing up, while others still had to wear uniforms.