Always Be Ready For Change

Asynchronous days are yet another big change to the already divergent school year, which has taken time for students to adjust. Not only is this a big difference for the students, but for the teachers as well who also had to go through this change. To limit the amount of screen time and give students a much-needed break, asynchronous days were introduced by the Tempe Union High School District. There are negatives and positives seen by both teachers and students on whether these new Wednesdays are enjoyable or not.
For example, the extra time that is given to students and the ability to go at your own pace. Not to mention the option of sleeping in.
Senior Esli Hazell says, “I really enjoy asynchronous days. I feel as though I get much less screen time and it’s a nice break from looking at zoom calls all week personally, it’s helped my mental health a lot.”
But this is not true for every student. Some still feel that even with the asynchronous days, there is still a significant amount of screen time.
“I feel like I’m getting more screen time even though I’m in person for only two days,” sophomore Dru Bowyer said. “I still feel like I have more hours of screen time and we do our homework on the computer too.”
Teachers also have differing opinions. Asynchronous days for teachers can also be seen as extra time to plan out the rest of their week or a chance to get caught up in grading.
“For me personally as a teacher, asynchronous days are a treasure. When I have a smaller number of students coming to my virtual office hours (and AcLab), we are able to work more one-on-one. It’s more personable, I’m able to give immediate feedback, and develop more of a connection with the student,” science teacher Kate Hoverson said. “The other benefit is that I have more time to plan and prepare thoughtfully for the following week, provide more meaningful feedback on what students are doing the current week, and catch up on grading. This year has been intense for all of us in a myriad of ways, and Wednesday asynchronous days feel like a life-preserver sometimes.”
Along with the benefits that Hoverson has mentioned there are teachers who feel the same way but also realize the drawbacks that the day could bring.
“In reference to Asynchronous Learning Day, I feel that overall it was a good attempt to allow students the opportunity to take a mental break from the computer and allow other students that may have found themselves falling behind the chance to catch up. For that reason, I like the concept,” Senior Army Instructor Norman points out. “But one of the main struggles that I have seen with asynchronous learning is that the students that are behind, are not taking advantage of the time and see it more as a day off. This places them further behind and they expect teachers to give them more time to make up assignments.”
Overall, everyone has different viewpoints on asynchronous days. Whether it feels like more or less screen time, the freedom to go at their own pace can definitely be seen as a plus. Asynchronous days are just an example of how our school is changing due to COVID-19. Maybe some can agree with what Geometry teacher Amanda Michalik says, “I have a love-hate relationship with asynchronous Wednesdays.”