Teachers During Zoom Meetings – Expectations vs. Reality

Zoom meetings – Expectations vs. Reality

Who would have thought that I would miss the days of live, in-person staff meetings that most definitely could have been an email? Zoom has become every educator’s best friend/worst nightmare during this time of online learning. While some things have been tossed out the window, meetings remain a staple that have just been transformed into something even more draining, hysterical, confusing, and downright painful. Here are the expectations and realities of being on a Zoom meeting.

1. Logging in

Expectation: You have no problems logging in to Zoom and you are fully on time. Huzzah!

Reality: You can’t even get into the meeting. Your technology challenged supervisor sent you the wrong link, sending you and your co-workers down a rabbit hole of furiously trying to contact said supervisor and say hey, let us in! Because of this, your meeting starts late, you aren’t on time, and everyone is frazzled. Good morning to you, too!

2. Meeting duration

Expectation: This meeting will actually be short and productive. We don’t have to be here for the full hour, so let’s get this show on the road. I actually have a positive attitude about this meeting!

Reality: This meeting is even worse than in-person meetings! Why is this dragging on forever and ever? STOP TALKING, CAROL. YOUR QUESTION DOES NOT PERTAIN TO A SINGLE PERSON OTHER THAN YOURSELF, SO SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET. I now hate everyone and everything. Zoom is officially the worst.

3. Technical difficulties

Expectation: Your wifi works great and there are no technical glitches. 

Reality: Everyone in your house is on wifi at the same time, so your internet keeps cutting in and out. Everyone on your screen is frozen and you can’t hear what your principal is saying. Making out every other word isn’t helping you at all and you feel like you are slowly losing your mind. You cannot do a whole hour of this, so you try logging on and off and that does nothing. Meanwhile, your colleagues are trying to yell at your boss because they can’t hear a word he is saying, but he keeps going. Is this hell? You’re pretty sure it is. 

4. So many more distractions!

Expectation: You are fully focused on what the speaker is saying. There are no distractions and you could basically do this all day. 

Reality: Your phone is buzzing from a text chain where your co-teachers are sending you GIFs of being bored. Your email keeps popping up from students who have tons of questions about this week’s assignments. You are distracted by the gallery view of the screen in front of you. One person has changed their background to space while another looks like she’s on a tropical holiday. Look at these houses and backgrounds! Is that a bar in the background of one of them?! Also, why does Britt look like she’s in her bathroom? Is she legit peeing while taking this call? WHAT WHAT WHAT IS GOING ON.

5. Background noise pollution

Expectation: Everyone is muted and you have pinned the person who called this meeting. 

Reality: Half of your colleagues forget to mute themselves. Thus, all you hear is stupid background noise. Babies are crying, you hear “MOOOOOMMMMM” being yelled 50 times, and is that running water in the background? Your supervisor tries to remind everyone to mute themselves, but sweet Betty can’t figure out how to do that so 20 people try to walk her through it all at the same. damn. time. Is it too early to drink? Asking for a friend…

6. Physical appearance

Expectation: You look like the professional teacher-boss that you are usually in school. 

Reality: You look like an extra from “The Walking Dead”. The bags under your eyes have bags from not being able to sleep during this incredibly stressful time. You are looking pretty pale from being inside all day. Your hair remains unwashed and is starting to look kind of greasy. You are wearing a pajama top and sweats. Did you remember to put on deodorant this morning? Only time will tell! 

7. Communication chaos

Expectation: Everyone waits their turn to speak and everyone seems to be rocking online etiquette.  

Reality: Everyone is speaking at once. Some individuals try to raise their hand like they are in the 3rd Grade while others just talk over whoever is talking. It sounds like a cacophony of sound and one you aren’t interested in during another day of self-quarantine. In addition, the chat bar is going on the side. So there are essentially five conversations happening at once about different things and you can’t keep track of a single one. You start thinking about how you took staff meetings at school for granted and those are words you never ever thought you would say!

Also Read:

Zoom meetings – Expectations vs. Reality

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Veteran Legend

Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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