Editorial: Faculty and students should work together as in-person classes resume

As students and professors gear up to return to class in person, they should give each other grace and help the transition flow as smoothly as possible.

UTA announced Sept. 7 it will pivot to mainly in-person before Sept. 20 after the university reported a positivity rate of 1% since testing began. The fall 2021 semester marks the campus’s first semester to officially resume in-person activities since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Similar to when classes were moved online almost a year and a half ago, the transition back to in-person will undoubtedly change everybody’s routines again.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board believes students and professors should try to understand the difficulty of transitioning back to in-person instead of resorting to constantly critiquing one another.

When students and professors changed to mostly virtual courses, they had to get familiar with using Microsoft Teams or Zoom to attend classes and office hours and working on Canvas.

This was difficult for people who never took hybrid or synchronous classes before. They missed the interactions between people on campus or in the classroom and found it more challenging to pay attention and keep up with deadlines.

Some students resorted to skipping semesters during the pandemic because they could not handle the stress of managing their lives with virtual classes.

But as time passed, most people accepted the “new normal.” Professors and students agree it was unsafe to return in person as COVID-19 cases surged every day. Thus, they became accustomed to the virtual format.

Many Americans got vaccinated, and many students and professors have now become more willing to resume in-person activities.

But it isn’t easy. Students who have grown used to logging into class minutes before it begins will not be able to do that again. They will have to schedule a routine where they wake up early and look presentable before coming to class.

Professors should remember it is not easy for students to find parking spots. They generally have to park a little bit further away. And for students who have never been on campus before, it’s normal to struggle with finding parking and getting to class on time.

Although some professors taught hybrid courses during the pandemic, many classes went completely virtual. Students may have gotten used to having Canvas remind them of deadlines and where to submit their assignments.

But since classes are returning in person, some professors may assign paper homework again, which some students may find difficult to keep track of. Professors should still remind their classes of weekly tasks and send reminders on Canvas and through emails for the next few weeks, so the students can be on top of their game again.

It may take some time for professors to grade homework on paper and submit the grades manually. Students should empathize with their professors and not complain if they are late with posting grades. They can communicate with their professors and explain they want to see where they stand in the class a little bit earlier by midterms or before the final drop date.

Professors should also be more mindful when it comes to class participation. Some students may be more comfortable talking during virtual classes since most people turn off their cameras and don’t feel like all eyes are on them.

It becomes a different situation as they return to fully in-person classes in a few weeks. Students may feel nervous about being judged by other people when they return to class. Thus, they will try to avoid raising their hands and participating during classes.

Besides, those who have had few human interactions since the pandemic began may not immediately feel comfortable working in group projects, getting in pairs during class or simply asking their questions aloud.

Professors should work with students to figure out the best way to conduct in-person classes instead of assuming every student will fit in comfortably as soon as they return to campus.

Students, in return, should give their professors grace as they are transitioning back to in-person as well. If professors seem a little unorganized or need time to figure out tools in the classroom, students should not judge them and be a little more understanding.

To better prepare for the transition, students should be transparent and avoid abusing their professors’ good will. They should start preparing and focusing on transitioning back to campus instead of constantly blaming the pandemic for the rest of the semester.

Students should train themselves to make and follow routines in their lives. While some students may find creating a routine strange if they have never made one before, it is one of the best ways to keep people organized.

Many students agree that following routines helps them not rush around and start their day frenzied, according to a previous Shorthorn article.

Faculty and students should keep a two-way street of respect. They should constantly communicate with one another to best explain the difficulties they are experiencing during the transition.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board encourages students and professors to try their best to work with one another throughout the semester. Since they could adjust to the transition from in-person to virtual, they can work through the process again. It is not easy, but the UTA community should try to have the best in-person semester possible together.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Dang Le; Editor-in-Chief Angelica Perez; associate news editor Cole Kembel; Katecey Harrell, life and entertainment editor; design editor Vivian Santillan; news reporter Taylor Coit; and copy editor Jill Bold.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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