Hybrid Learning is an unmitigated disaster and has to go, ASAP.
Largely due to serious underfunding from the Ford PC regime at Queens Park, school boards have launched stop gap teaching-learning models to deal with the ongoing covid situation, the worst of which is hybrid learning. Hybrid learning is an attempt to mix within a class, face to face (f2f) instruction with remote zoom-teams instruction for those students from families who chose to remain out of school due to covid fears. The boards collapsed virtual schools and expected in-school teachers to deliver this education, mainly to f2f students but some classes to students on remote.
Sounds like a reasonable accommodation so far, assuming that teacher A taught two classes in the morning to f2f students and some teachers would teach an afternoon class to students on remote. That, however, was not the model chosen. Boards opted for a simultaneous model, where one classroom teacher would teach a f2f class while still having other students on remote watching the same lesson through a laptop camera. This dysfunctional model was foisted on teachers notwithstanding the warnings of classroom teachers and their unions that the model was “a bridge too far”.
Apparently administrators liked it, because it is easy to administer, and some families initially liked it because the student remained attached to their particular school. Teachers, on the other hand, find it near impossible to deliver a successful program, simultaneously. In class activities are often not well suited to remote learning and the reverse is true, causing teachers to double their preparation work for every single class, add to this, the difficulties with evaluation, compounded by the boards adoption of a quadmester, scheduling system which allocates zero prep time some days, balanced by large amounts of prep at a later time. Although this technically meets the requirements of the CA, it is absurd when time was used for parent contact by phone or email as only one problem, never mind the assembly of materials for later lessons, photocopying, grading, whatever. Teachers contacted by this report emphasised that they are “tied to the screen”. A form of teacher centeredness is forced upon them. Often there are technical issues, leaving the virtual students locked out.
Something has to give here. When teachers have to produce double lessons, with screwed up preptime, the consequences will show up over time. Teachers may start to decline extracurricular activities, committee work, phone calls and emails will not be returned as promptly, older teachers will retire earlier, more teachers will be using every single sick day costing the board big bucks, such is the case with teacher burnout.
In York Region, a huge school board north of Toronto, parents as well as teachers, say hybrid is a failed and failing system that needs to go,
Michelle Teixeira, the newly elected president of OSSTF District 12, Toronto, the largest OSSTF district, has already staged protests regarding hybrid learning, and the anger over the imposed system has spread to Peel
District and generally around Ontario. Teachers were promised only a small number of classes would be hybrid but in reality 68% of classes are hybrid. The solution is a return to virtual schools for virtual students.
In summary all in, hybrid learning has to go at the earliest opportunity, the semester break in January would seem to be the best opportunity. Teachers can hardly be faulted for feeling that their interests, and expertise are being largely ignored as the interests of the province, the local administrator and a small number, 14% of the parents, are the priority and not the mental health of thousands of teachers. Even the quality of education for both f2f and remote students seems to be being sacrificed in the process. That would seem to be a case of misplaced priorities.