New PGCPS recommendation calls for teachers to shift their teaching methods


Despite the fact that we’re still in a pandemic, school resumes in person with new protocols put in place by the county to keep everyone safe. One of the many recommendations set out by PGCPS is the encouragement for teachers to limit the use of paper being handed out to students. This would ensure people are socially distancing and help prevent contact tracing.  

This recommendation has teachers shifting their methods of teaching. Unlike previous years where teachers were accustomed to handing out tons of worksheets, teachers now upload their assignments onto Google Classroom and/or Canvas. These two platforms give students the opportunity to submit assignments directly onto a platform that will allow teachers to grade assignments without having to hand out and receive worksheets from students.

This new system used by numerous teachers took some students by surprise upon arriving at school this past September.

“I was a little surprised because it was one of the things I actually missed about in-person school,” said senior Ozichi Onyejiuwa.  “With the decision to return to in-person school, I would assume that a lot of things such as how we work would go back to normal but that was not the case.”

While this method was less common pre-COVID, quite surprisingly some students did not find it hard adjusting to our new norm.

“I got used to it, but sometimes it’s frustrating,” said Onyejiuwa, one of the many students who did not find it very difficult adjusting to the new system.

As teachers continue to use Google Classroom and Canvas, students’ biggest fear is having WiFi issues that can prevent them from submitting assignments on time.

“Having slow wifi or my wifi not working is something I’m still concerned about,” said senior Lesley Velazquez even though students have returned to the building.

It is evident the fear of wifi issues is something many are worried about, especially when the majority of students’ assignments are found online.

Teachers, on the other hand, are adjusting quickly to the new format. “Canvas has made it so much easier to assign & receive work,” said Parkdale American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Ms. Whitney McDonald.

As students and teachers continue to move forward throughout this school year, it begs the question: will computers replace the use of worksheets in the future?

“I think for certain subjects, it’s much easier to submit everything online,” said Onyejiuwa. “For one, there is less paper wasted. Also, it is a more organized way for teachers to review and grade assignments as well as for students to keep track of their assignments. On the other hand, I think with certain subjects, assignments are easier to do on paper.” 

The perks of using Chromebooks in classroom settings have risen over this past year. According to a survey conducted by the Washington Post, a school district in Virginia predominantly uses computers for “quizzes, standardized tests, internet searches, and presentations.” “… The [computers] have several advantages — they make learning more interesting, allow students to move at their own pace and boost collaboration.”

This school year will serve as guidance for upcoming years even after social distancing guidelines are lifted. We’re living through times that are paving the way teachers teach in the future and prove just how efficient computers are in classroom settings.

… I also think that this applies to online teaching as well,” explained Ms. McDonald. “COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, but it has also helped us notice that lots of tasks can be done online.”