As of Monday, January 20, high school students have completed a full semester of online learning. For some students and teachers, this time and experience has changed their view of online learning for the better. However, it has also unearthed new challenges no one could have expected. (Photo in public domain)
When online school first started, the prospect of digital learning caused uproar in parents and students alike. Now, almost six months into the school year, the initial shock has worn off, but new issues have risen.
Like many others, Kalkidan Behilu, a sophomore at Leesville Road High School, started the year not looking forward to something as different from normal as online school.
“At first, since online learning was so different and new, so I didn’t really like it,” said Behilu via email. “I had my camera on, and I still have my camera on every day, but it feels weird not seeing and being able to connect with my classes. I think that it’s just the fact that I wasn’t used to it and it was so different from what I was used to so that was why I didn’t really like it in the beginning.”
Starting the second-semester Behilu’s thoughts on online school are far more positive than they once were. “Now that I have been learning online for a semester officially, I have actually come to like it. Although I still prefer to learn in person, I enjoy this way of learning,” she wrote.
Mrs. Bullard, a science teacher at Leesville Road High School, has had a similar experience with online school with her confidence growing over the course of last semester.
“At the beginning of the year, I was so nervous and uncertain of how teaching and learning would go,” she said via email. “I worried that I wouldn’t learn the technology fast enough and that my students wouldn’t learn. I have learned that students and teachers can learn to adapt to a changing situation. My students seemed thankful for all of the work I was putting into the class. My students were also understanding when something didn’t work right.”
Though Behilu and Bullard eventually became comfortable with the school’s new online format, both found that when classes were moved online they lost an important, taken-for-granted, aspect of a regular school year.
“The biggest downside for me is that I am not able to really talk to my classmates or my peers because of the way google meet works. If there was any way to change the way us as students interacted to allow us to interact more then, I would love that,” wrote Behilu.
Bullard noticed the same lack of interaction with and between her students. As the semester progressed, this lack of interaction has worsened. “Towards the end of the semester, my students seemed tired and worn out,” she wrote. “I saw less friendly faces each day. I heard from my students less and fewer questions were asked.”
Now, with an entire semester ahead, students and teachers alike have to answer this question — how can we reintroduce social interaction to our school day while online, and what happens if we fail to do so?
Hi! My name is Lauren! I’m President of the LRHS book club. Outside of school I’m a curler for Team Taylor and I like to rollerblade.