Microsoft Teams has inspired some mixed feelings this year 


Precious Amuwha, Reporter

Multiple students and staff from UAIS have shared their thoughts on Teams now that most quarantine-related COVID-19 restrictions— including those that restricted all instruction to online conferences— are lifted from the UCS school district. This restriction peel-back has affected the way Teams is viewed and used by teachers and students alike. Contrary to popular belief, many appear to be ambivalent about the Microsoft communications platform, as some teachers elect to use it, and some do not. 

Last year, starting in March 2020, students were required to join Teams meetings created by their teachers every school day— should they desire to be marked for attendance. Even when all students were required to return to in-person learning a year later, they were still required to join Teams weekly. Joy Khan, the visual arts teacher at UAIS, admitted that for naturally hands-on classes such as her own, the virtual setting was not ideal. 

“Everything is always better when you’re in person… I can see the artwork when I critique it and try to help them,” Mrs. Khan said. “I can’t always do that on Teams… which is what made my job infinitely harder when we were online.” 

Now that everybody is in school full time, Teams has become largely obsolete; that is, unless students are absent for long periods of time. 

Giselle Sesi, a UAIS junior who spent an extended amount of time away from in-person learning this school year, said, “It was really helpful when teachers could use Teams. It made me feel like I was still a part of the class.”  

Khan echoed the positive attitude toward Teams when she said, “I’m just glad that I can have… anyone in the class that is… stuck at home.” She added, “Just the opportunity to be in class is great; I’m just glad we have that because normally we wouldn’t.”  

Additionally, Alyssa Alpas, a UAIS senior, said, “I don’t wanna endanger anyone I know,” conceding other benefits to remote learning. Alpas additionally said, “Last year I was definitely more leaning towards staying at home because it seemed more convenient at the time… It was a bit more chill so it was more sensible for me to stay home.”

Despite the sensibility, however, Alpas admitted that she generally preferred learning in person.  

“The learning environment is so much better in person,” she said. “I learn better in person, so having to go back online would be hard, especially since my experiences online have been rough.”

Khan agrees: “I can actually and physically help them,” she said when referring to her art students.  

When asked to compare her online experiences from this year and last, Sesi detailed a remarkable divergence.  

“This experience was much different from last year’s.” The universality of Teams last year demanded a sort of “structure,” and therefore, “since we’re fully in person, there’s no option for Teams, and things [are] unclear and not structured. You could see how a freshman… may have been confused,” Sesi said.