Zoom to Room: An inside look at NHS’ transition from hybrid to in-person learning


Gilbert reviews with her block 7 psychology class. Students prepare to take a practice test.

Addison Bussell and Olivia Jackson

The beginning of the school year can be caked with anxiety and nerves for students and teachers alike. The transition from free time to cram time is a lot to take in. Now, students face an even bigger challenge, because not only have they gone from summer to school, but the transition from Zoom to room haunts many. 

As a community, teachers and students were expected to learn and instruct online. Some felt that these expectations created a universally felt struggle to meet everyone’s needs and find success. Leaving these anxieties behind is bound to be a difficult task, but teachers like Stephanie Gilbert are looking to provide students with a certain hopefulness that was hard to find last year.

“I feel like my students reached their full potential,” Gilbert said. “I feel like they tried just as hard if not more because there was no way to be disconnected since we were all on Zoom.” 

Gilbert’s outlook on what most would consider a rough school year is positive. Her mindset that Covid-19 was actually a blessing in disguise creates a whole new set of challenges when it comes to transitioning to an in-person classroom. 

“Since I was at home, I wasn’t trying to balance my classroom with who was on Zoom, for me my full attention was everyone on Zoom. So students who didn’t want to talk would be sending me chats and I was responding to them in the chat while we were talking,” Gilbert said.

Zoom calls created a way for Gilbert to help and hear students without having to call them out in her class. She said that the kids more likely to not speak up in her class had found a way to interact with their teacher without needing to make it known to everyone. 

“If someone wasn’t participating, all I had to do was send a message,” Gilbert said. “I felt like everyone was more engaged.” 

Of course, not every teacher had such a positive experience with hybrid learning. Some found it extremely difficult to find the silver lining in such a difficult situation.

“I did not understand or account for how dramatically wearing masks would alter the ability to relate with students,” social studies teacher Stanley Abell said.

The way he sees it, a classroom is all about building connection so that impactful and lasting lessons can be taught.

“[Hybrid learning] tremendously altered the communication between me and student, and more importantly between student and student,” Abell said. 

He found that this lack of connection, compounded with students’ mental health issues, Zoom exhaust, and social isolation all impacted the success of students in his classroom last year. All this considered, Abell still feels optimistic about this school year.

“This has been the best start to a school year I’ve ever had,” Abell said. 

Abell noticed that the energy and excitement around being in school is palpable, and the connection between ____ is back. 

Though many feel last year was one of seemingly infinite hardships and difficulties, there is one universal truth that applies to everyone in the NHS building, teachers, students, and community members alike: everyone went through it together. It can be seen that this school year’s transition has not been easy for everyone, so let’s lean on each other, ask for help when we need it, and keep the connection alive. After all, we are stronger together.