Back-to-Zoom Night

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Art/Photo by Samantha Takeda

Parents, students, and teachers encountered many of the ups and downs of West High’s virtual Back-to-School Night over Zoom.

Alexssa Takeda, Staff Writer

   Tired from a full day of work, parents have to race home, make dinner, ensure homework has been done, freshen up, and finally rush back out the door to make it to campus. This is a scene many have become accustomed to over the years for Back-to-School Night. Except for this year.

   On Wednesday, August 17th, parents were able to skip the stress in just a few clicks with West High’s virtual Back-to-School Night. Despite the seemingly large jump from in-person to virtual meetings, many students and their parents expressed how it was more simple and straightforward than they originally expected. Arushi Bagchi (10) said, “I actually thought it went pretty smoothly since it was easy to find the links to the respective classes and there were no major technical difficulties.” 

   Before the event, parents were sent a spreadsheet that neatly organized all the teachers along with the class links. While many teachers had live video calls, a few opted to create YouTube videos in place of the usual presentation which explained topics such as the class’s syllabus, expectations, grading scale, office hours, and contact information. Others required parents to watch their recordings before Back-to-School Night to optimize the ten-minute window they were given. 

   Following each call, parents received five minutes between classes to recuperate and prepare for the next. Instead of scrambling through hallways, frantically searching for classes, the classes were shown all in one place for quick and easy access. 

   While many students and parents had a great night of learning about what is yet to come, it was quite a different story for the teachers. Ms. Yang, a math teacher on campus, reflected on the night: “Did I feel like it went well? I don’t know, because I don’t have any of that in-person reaction and response.” Instead of the faces of parents, many teachers found that they have been replaced by a sea of unreadable, silent black tiles. A lack of feedback has made it difficult for teachers like Ms. Yang to adjust accordingly, serving as a harsh reminder of our solitude through this lockdown. 

   Not only that but timing their presentations was another challenge on its own. “After I was done talking, I only had a minute and a half to answer any questions from the parents,” Mr. Jin explained, who is a math teacher and coach for the tennis team.

   However, student attendee Romi Lisboa (10) believed that the teachers did a phenomenal job despite all of the downsides to a virtual Back-to-School Night: “Ms. Dugard’s Algebra 2 Honors class and Ms. Lee’s Korean 3 Honors presentations stuck out to me the most since they were really informative.” In spite of these limitations, it seems that teachers were still able to effectively communicate all the information they needed in their presentations. 

   Given the situation, the teachers seemed to quickly adapt to these strange circumstances, hiding their struggles and uneasiness from their audience. Yang added, “I hope they got a sense of ‘Oh, that’s my kid’s teacher’ because it’s nice to give them some reassurance that although there is no school physically, there are still teachers here for the students.” Especially through these uncertain and isolating times, reassurance is sometimes the only thing to remind us that we are all in this together.