Online teaching makes inclement weather days ‘snow’ problem


Kelsey Kinzer

Even when West Knoxville was blanketed in 6 inches of snow, Bearden teachers found ways to keep their students working.

Tori Lafon, Staff Writer

Snow days are a source of excitement for many students who get some unexpected time off from school.

However, last Friday marked Knox County’s ninth consecutive snow day, so many students and teachers have been faced with the challenge of fitting a full curriculum within a shortened semester.

“I’ve found that there comes a point where snow days become less of a fun day off from school and more of a cause of anxiety because I know that every day I’m not in class means I’m going to have at least double the work to catch up on,” senior Becca Churchman said.

However, thanks to a grant that equipped each Bearden student with his or her own MacBook Pro and the implementation of the learning management system Canvas, students can keep up with their classwork as long as they have an internet connection. Many teachers have used this technology to provide resources and assignments to students over the snow break.

“I am not crazy about having assignments over this break, but if I didn’t, it would mean teachers dropping material from our lesson plans or forcing a lot of information on us too quickly,” senior Austin Lavender said. “Plus, since teachers have gotten used to the computers,  it has helped keep me prepared over break.”

Although many students are not doing extra assignments over the snow break, Canvas has allowed students to catch up on the assignments they would have done if school had been in session. This has been useful to many, especially for students in AP classes who will take the exams in early May regardless of how many days of school they miss.

For Churchman, who is currently in an AP Language class, Canvas has given her the chance to keep up with the curriculum by writing a synthesis essay, studying vocabulary, and posting on a class discussion board while stuck at home due to the icy road conditions.

“We’ve been out of school so much, it would be incredibly difficult to play catch up if we were not continuing class at home,” she said. “This is especially true for AP classes where everything is so fast paced, and we have so much to cover before May.”

Some students, such as junior Esther Sitver, who was been given multiple catch-up assignments in her AP U.S. History class and her Pre-calculus class, feel that “they should not have been assigned homework on designated snow days.” Despite having school work, for Sitver, the inclement weather has provided a nice break from school.

“The internet makes schoolwork inescapable,” Sitver said. “I really do not like doing homework or teaching myself how to do math on snow days, but with the computers it’s inevitable, and I much prefer this to waking up early and being at school all day.”

Knox County Schools now only has one of its 10 allotted inclement weather days remaining.

“I don’t feel that worried about missing school since we have had work over the break, I love the snow, and, in the grand scale, we have not missed that many days,” Lavender said. “If we go over the designated days, though, I might be a little worried.”