Do teachers actually prefer their online students?

About+half+of+ELHS+students+chose+to+come+back+to+in-person+classes.

About half of ELHS students chose to come back to in-person classes.

Jacob Reiter, Staff Writer

Students at East Lake had two options given to them when they came to school this year, either come back to school physically and be required to follow COVID safety guidelines, or to attend class via Microsoft Teams. From the results of a survey made by the school itself, roughly half of the total enrolled students of East Lake are physically attending this year. With teachers having to simultaneously teach their in-person students and their online students, I had wondered if there was any preferential treatment towards either group perceived among the students. I asked both teachers and students this question and there seems to be a split opinion on the matter.

Students like Henry Cors, who is taking his classes online, said, “I think in my general experience that they try to cater to both groups of students as best they can, based on how I’ve seen my teachers interact with students of both groups.” He remained the only one to think that there was no disparity between the two groups of students.

Another student attending online classes, Lombrino Kondakciu, said, “I think they cater to the in person kids a little bit more just because they have more direct access to the content and teachers so it’s inevitable, they’ll get more focus.” It is easy to understand his point of view on this subject; with some teachers being barely able to open their Teams meeting it would feel like if you were an online student you would be left at the wayside in favor of your other classmates. However, Joseph “Will” Duran’s opinion seemed to be the general consensus among the students like myself attending school physically. He said that “I think that just because there are so many factors involved in running an online class at the same time as a physical class like whether the audio is working, making sure the students are participating, and other things like that the online students are given more attention.” Almost all the students I approached on the campus grounds seemed to share this feeling, the complete opposite of what the online students had thought.

However, I knew that I needed to get to the source of the disagreement, the teachers themselves. I asked a few teachers what they thought of the situation. Statistics teacher Mrs. Hynes in response to my questions initially said that she tried to pay attention to both equally. However, once she thought about it for a while longer, she said, “I feel I’m worried about my online students more because I can’t see them and I can see my in-person students. So, I know they’re doing OK and pay a bit less attention to them during lectures”. It is impossible for Hynes to speak for all of the teachers at East Lake, but given the split answers given by the students themselves it is unlikely that I will ever get a true conclusion to this inquiry.