Logan County High School students are not alone in feeling the effects of the pandemic. Students all across the United States have suffered the same symptoms of being in front of a computer for almost a year. Whether you are in Logan County, Kentucky or Los Angeles, California the term, “zoom fatigue” is a real thing. In this pandemic, teachers, administrators, students and parents have attempted to make the best of this uncertain situation. One vital way to combat zoom fatigue for a specific group of our students at Logan County High School is to implement an intervention system. Our students that are falling behind during the pandemic require some face to face interaction and support. Students who need extra support will be provided the opportunity to meet with their teachers and get small group or one-on-one assistance in the subjects that they are struggling to pass. This is one step closer to traditional school for Logan County High School students.
Tim Walker says zoom fatigue occurs when we feel tired after overusing video conferencing. It is not, however, merely a matter of tired eyes, a stiff neck or an achy lower back. We can actually feel exhausted after spending too much time on these calls. The reason, says Dr. Brenda Wiederhold, a clinical psychologist, lies in the fact that communication over these programs isn’t in fact real-time.
“Our brains are used to picking up body language and other cues, not to mention increases of dopamine, that are experienced during face-to-face communication,” explains Wiederhold. “On a video call, something is off, and our subconscious brain is reacting to that. Communication isn’t in real time, even though we may think it is."
It isn’t surprising that we get more out of in-person interactions. Mark Wood, biology teacher, at Logan County High School, was quoted saying “Zoom just doesn’t take the place of in-person learning – but we are thankful for this platform.”
Teachers especially value seeing their students’ reactions in real time and being able to pick up on various subtle cues and body language. Therefore, Logan County teachers, parents and students are overly excited about the possibilities of getting back to “normal school” in the classroom – as soon as possible. However, until then - Logan County freshman English teacher, Janice Price, says “I enjoy seeing my students on Zoom – it reassures me that they are doing well and interested in school. Technology is a great tool and I am glad we have it during this pandemic – but I will be thrilled when we are all together at school again”
In the meantime, to alleviate the effects of videoconferencing fatigue, Wiederhold advises educators to find the time to take those all-important breaks, even if just for a few minutes. That's the most important step, but she also suggests five minutes of diaphragmatic breathing to help “reset your baseline” before and after sessions. She also recommends reserving a small amount of time in the lesson for relaxation exercises that can also benefit students.
Logan County High School educators have tried to not only teach their students during this crisis but keep the relationships alive and connected. The daily “check ins”, the constant messages, emails and Zoom calls have been attempts to keep the spark of education and learning alive with students in Logan County Schools.
Written by Alissa Todd, Assistant Principal Logan County High School