From breakout rooms to muted mics, the worldwide pandemic has transformed students’ way of learning. Having completed five weeks of online instruction, students and teachers have a lot to say.
Question: Having completed a brief period of online learning, how has this new routine affected your way of life? Any challenges or benefits Anything you miss?
“In my high school experience, most of the learning has been independent. Online school, if anything, has made independent learning easier since teachers make more of an effort to make online study materials available to students. However, for some subjects like English, collaboration is more difficult and makes the class harder.”
— senior Thomas McGall
“I now do a lot more work before school in the morning than I did before because I’m always exhausted after being on Zoom all day. I used to sleep in and was always late to school, but Zoom makes me so tired that I can’t do any work in the afternoon, which means I actually have to get up early around 7 a.m. to do work.”
— senior Rachel Owens
“I really enjoy the late start times, but the inconsistencies in the schedule throughout the week can be confusing. I dislike how the seven-period day is on Monday, giving us a heavy workload to start the week. Also, I miss the longer class periods. I felt like I was able to accomplish more in the longer class periods as opposed to the shorter ones now.
— junior Nikhil Majeti
“I am lonely. I don’t have many friends, and I definitely don’t have any new ones. I try to be nice on Zooms, but in reality, it’s not like we are put in one on one breakout rooms so we can actually get to know each other. Sometimes we do speed-friending and ask each other questions, but it is not the same. So, it’s challenging not to have any new shoulders to lean on.”
— freshman Hannah Singer
“I was pleasantly surprised by how well teachers have adjusted to an entirely online curriculum and how most try to minimize Zoom exposure during class time. However, I did find that spending hours on end on Zoom calls are significantly more draining than being in the classroom.”
— senior Juan Brandi
“Beyond what might be obvious, what I miss most is my classroom — Room 219. I put a lot of time and energy into turning a room characterized by a weird hallway, no windows and 10 huge wooden carts storing other people’s stuff into a calming, organized, modular, thought-provoking, question-inducing space that facilitates student learning in all the ways a classroom can. I have tried to harness the space to create something like a culture of which all students who take my classes remain a part even when they move onto new courses and teachers. I’ve been back to 219 a few times since March to drop off and pick up items, and each visit has been a little more poignant than the last.”
— English teacher Hunter Reardon
“The new routine is more relaxing in the morning, without any commute or need to pack lunch and supplies for the day. The technology is mostly new to me so it has been challenging to learn it quickly to make the most of Zoom lessons. I am so grateful for my wonderful students. It is clear that this method of learning is less than ideal for most, but they show up with good attitudes, ask great questions and are eager to learn. What more can I ask for?”
— economics teacher Debbie Whitson
“I used to walk a mile a day before school and get so many things done in my prep time. Free time and exercise have disappeared as all my time was suddenly prep time. My legs and back hurt from sitting so much. I am finding out that “desk jobs” are really hard on the body! But what I reminisce about is how easy we all had it — coming and going as we pleased, hugging, traveling, having get-togethers, going to the movies, to the theater for a concert or play. I hope that we all appreciate the simple things a lot more because I sure will for the rest of my life.”
— photography teacher Margo Wixsom