Teachers seeing increased workload with in-person, virtual classes

JOPLIN, Mo. – Some teachers say the combination of online and in-person classes has doubled their workload. We spoke to a couple of Joplin High School teachers about how they’re handling the changes.

In person learning and virtual learning are two different things and that is resulting in an increased workload for area teachers, like Karisa Boyer, a science teacher at Joplin High School. “Kinda the day-to-day tasks have doubled, because you have to keep track of the kids that are home and the kids that are here, and then when a student for example goes on quarantine, then you have a whole other set of details you have to track.”

But the increased workload doesn’t end with instruction, there’s desks and chairs and for Boyer, lab equipment that has to be taken care of. “But all of it takes cleaning, and organizing, disinfecting and so on and so on, so, there is no downtime ever I feel like in a day anymore, so I go home much more tired than I ever have.”

Shelly Greninger is an English teacher at the high school and she too felt a bit overloaded at the start of the year. “It just seemed like we were doing a lot more work than usual, but a lot of it was just work that was different than what we were used to.”

But Greninger says things seem to be balancing out further into the school year. “Overall we’re still doing the same things in the classroom that we normally do, we just spend a lot more time interacting and giving them less time in class to do independent work because that’s what we’re kind of saving for them to do more independent stuff on their days at home.”

It’s not all negative though, smaller class sizes, for example. Boyer says “There’s a huge difference between 25 or 30 kids sitting in your room versus 10 or 15.”

Which Boyer says allows her to educate more. “So as a science teacher I can have, for example, when we have microscopes, every student gets their own microscope instead of sharing,”

Boyer says another positive from the ‘new’ way of doing things is it will be helpful for students who have non-COVID reasons for missing class in person for an extended period, because they’ll already have everything virtual ready to go.