The case for Zoom


Graphic by Fiona FitzSimons

Kavita O’Malley

This school year started off completely virtually, with teachers being asked to use Microsoft Teams and Canvas as the two main platforms for school work. However, I strongly prefer Zoom to Teams. The majority of teachers had their Zoom systems pretty figured out by the end of last year. Now, it takes time away from class when teachers don’t know how to work the systems they have been asked to use. Obviously, I know that there would have been a learning curve no matter what, but at least with Zoom the teachers got a lot of their learning over with last year, which could have helped smooth over the transition into this school year. 

The primary setback of Teams is that teachers can’t see all of their students at once which undermines their ability to check and make sure that every student is engaged in class. I’ve even heard teachers say that they highly preferred the Zoom layout to the Teams one because it allows you to easily see everyone in the class.The Zoom view also helped with attendance and being able to ensure that everyone in the class was supposed to be there. 

Last week some random people joined a Teams call and disrupted my class by cursing, yelling, playing music, and picking on both the teacher and students in the class. Though she tried her best, it took half an hour to remove the kids from the class. In Zoom, teachers could simply add and remove kids by forcing them to wait in the waiting room if they were being disruptive or disrespectful. However, it took my teacher a while to figure out how to do that on Teams, so the students were subjected to the insolence of those kids for an extended period of time. I left the class feeling a little sick and not really wanting to go back for fear that something like that would happen again. When people from other classes or schools join a Teams call and the teacher can’t see all of the faces, it’s far easier for those people to go unnoticed while still impairing the learning environment. 

I was quite anxious going into this year not knowing how everything was going to work. I was stressed out by the idea of having to use a new platform for video classes, so I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the teachers. They have had to adjust quickly to a virtual form of educating that has never been used on this scale, so it seems ridiculous to me that the school district would request that teachers, who are already doing so much, adjust to a new video system as well. I feel like the comfort of the teachers should have been more of a priority. The more comfortable the teachers are, the better their teaching is. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it much easier to learn when my teachers seem relaxed in the environment. Though their problems are understandable, when teachers struggle to manage the new Teams technology, it really makes me wish we were still using Zoom.