Academic Life After Quarantine


Contributing writer Sahil Annamaneni ’24 interviewed Ms. Sarah Forbes, instructor in Spanish and Phil Warren ’24 about adjusting to academic life this year.

What have been some challenges that you have faced from coming out of quarantine still having to wear masks as a teacher?

Ms. Forbes: The masks muffle my voice, which is hard because I teach a foreign language, and students who are learning through the Owl apparatus can’t hear me very well or their classmates because of the masks. Students wearing masks has been really tough because it’s hard to tell who they are, and it’s hard to tell what mood they’re in and how they are feeling. I’m sure students have felt that too, they can’t tell if I am smiling, and I can’t tell if they are so it’s hard to see how people are receiving things. 

Do you have a preference for in-person class versus Zoom? What are some positives and negatives that you found about each? 

Ms. Forbes: I definitely prefer in-person but now after having taught virtually for five months collectively, I do see some benefits to Zoom and it’s nice because students can be anywhere and interact. In person is great, but hybrid isn’t quite in-person, so that integration can be challenging. I have only done it for [a few days] but it has been challenging. 

Warren: I’m a very in-person learner, which I found out last year when we over the springtime. I think one of the biggest negatives about a Zoom class is that it is so easy to distract myself. I think one of the positives though is the Zoom technology, but in person, you can pay attention better, and it’s a lot easier for a natural flow of discussion. 

Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.