What’s up with Wednesdays?

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Wednesdays have become a hot topic as on October 21 all students began remote learning each Wednesday due to the limitations for one on one time with students and teachers.

“The origin of our online Wednesdays was quite a shock and surprise to us. They called all the staff down to the Commons and said they had to make an announcement and they just sprung it on us,” said history teacher, Micheal Shepard.

Though there was an initial shock factor, staff was enthused to know they would be able to get the one-on-one time that was currently lacking. 

“There was an outcry for students to meet with staff and staff to meet with students–to get help from staff. The administration saw what was happening that there were students struggling with the current set up and made adjustments necessary to make ends meet,” said math department leader, Jared Plaza.

The high school currently does not let students come in for after school help. With the loss of lunch and learn time and shortened classes, students and teachers lost valuable time together. Administration saw that successful students were struggling with the current system and decided that on their end, they could help students and staff to make ends meet.

“Was I originally on board with the idea? Absolutely. I thought if it was run properly it would be one of the best things ever. And so far so good. I think Wednesdays are very beneficial and I thought they would be from the start as long as they were used properly, I do not dislike them at all,” said Plaza.

Student expectations vary from class to class as teachers are given the freedom to use their 30 minutes of Wednesday class time in whichever way they would like, either synchronous or asynchronous. 

“On Wednesdays I haven’t given out assignments. It’s more just been for clarification. I just think there is a lot of stress happening right now. I don’t feel the need to add more homework to your plate. I think students have a lot more questions for me than I do of them,” said Plaza. 

While some teachers choose to strictly answer questions, others utilize this time to further students’ understanding of current material without introducing new material. 

“I give out assignments connected to what we have been working on so it requires them to use a skill we have already been focusing on. I still want kids to be engaged in my course. The kids that don’t need help and have been successful, you want to enrich them and expand their minds–but the kids that need the help you want to give them that support,” said Shepard. 

Teachers and students alike, the biggest change has been logging on instead of coming in. Teachers throughout the high school have seen positive student engagement throughout Wednesday’s remote learning, despite there being a screen interfering with them. 

“Student engagement varies. I love it the most when kids that are there are actually verbal and talking and it’s not just one person here one person there. When cameras are on it feels like an in-person class.There are more kids there than I thought would be, so that has been nice,” said Plaza. 

The goal of Wednesdays is for students to get personalized attention by attending meetings with their teachers. Students are not required to join the Google Meets unless asked.

“Specifically on Wednesday, about 25% of the kids I ask to come in virtually come into the google meet, the rest don’t. For those kids that do attend, the success rate for them has been very high. So if it is only affecting a small group I am going to take that as a win,” said Shepard. 

Along with joining Google Meets throughout the day, students are offered the option to come in-person to express any other questions or concerns they may have. 

“When I do my Google meetings in the mornings kids are always there, in the afternoons it’s normally kids popping in and out every five minutes. I’ve had more kids come in in person lately than be part of the google meet,” said Plaza. 

Wednesdays have been received positively by staff, students, and parents. With little complaints to teachers.

“Be vocal, be there, give feedback, this is new for the teachers too. We are looking for what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to give your honest feedback to the staff as of what you liked and what you didn’t like,” said Plaza.