Online School Interview: Erin O’Brien

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Jack Pittman, Copy Editor

With our transition to online school due to the outbreak of COVID-19, I have decided to interview one of our teachers, the one and only Madame O’Brien, about her experience thus far!

 

  • How many classes do you have per day?

I have between 2 to 3 a day.

 

  • How have you adapted to online classes?

I have found some features of Zoom that I really like and will try to incorporate into my class when we return. I’ve also found that I personally have to adapt some of my material to better fit online classes, such as teaching smaller things like poems/fables instead of longer stories.

 

  • With all your extra free time in quarantine, have you picked up any new hobbies?

Not a new hobby, but I have been in the kitchen cooking like crazy. I still cook to feed myself, but I had kind of lost my passion for it these past few years. This self-isolation has given me new-found inspiration and enthusiasm. Now, I am baking bread and making cheeseburger sliders, mac and cheese, and other things.

 

  • What video streaming service do you use?

I use Zoom, since it has a lot of the tools that I like to use for my classes, like the whiteboard feature.

 

  • Had you ever been exposed to online learning before?

Not for an entire class, but I have submitted assignments online and done tests online as a student myself.

 

  • What part of your house do you teach your classes from?

Typically, I work from my dining room table.

 

  • How has it affected your daily routine?

I am able to wake up a bit later than I usually do, so that’s been nice. I can take a break between classes sometimes to walk my dog and get some sunshine and fresh air (while still, of course, social distancing!). I love being able to take those mini breaks in the day. That outside time has become more crucial than ever in these times!

 

  • Has this interfered with your daily life outside of the classroom?

Before I answer this, I want to say that I am aware that so many people have been affected by this in truly negative/scary ways. I am so grateful to be someone who has a job, and is lucky enough to do that job safely from my home. So any disruptions I have, in the grand scheme of things, are so minor. That being said, I have had my daily life affected, even if it’s small things. I can’t go to the gym, and that has been my biggest disruption, as I love weight lifting. I find it fun, and it’s also a huge stress-reliever for me. I miss seeing my friends outside of work also and going to eat in restaurants. I also really miss not having to do everything from one place. I like the change of scenery of work, the gym, a restaurant, home, etc. Now, those are all one location for me, and it’s easy to grow stir-crazy.

 

  • How has this altered your relationships with students?

I have tried to not let it alter the relationship, so we often take the last 2-3 minutes of class to do a fun thing, like show our animals on screen or share a TV show or food/drink item we’ve been enjoying. I find not being in IRL class can cut down on that chatting as everyone walks in before the bell rings to start class, and it was a nice way to get to know my students, so I’ve tried to replace that however I can.

 

  • What would you change about online teaching?

I think we are doing the best we can with what we have right now, but I won’t lie, online learning could never replace the true RMA experience for me. I will just be glad when we can all be back in the classroom and at school together.