By Chloe Vande Kamp
Amidst a pandemic and the isolation that comes with it, a lot of hope has diminished, particularly in teens and students. As the stress and worries of COVID-19 has become more and more overwhelming for students and families, now would be the time to search for a silver lining. Amidst anecdotal data via social media, it is clear that many have suffered at the hands of this pandemic, and the toll it has taken on hundreds of thousands of lives cannot be easily measured. Within the gap social lives used to fill, however, there is room for self reflection and observation of the workings of online schooling. The concept of at-home learning is a vital one with many questions. How are students benefiting from it? Which parts are more difficult to adapt to? Online education may become far more accessible, and thus important for each student to examine in order to determine what is right for them.
From kindergarten to university, all students have moved to online schooling. Parents of young children teach and care from home, providing both stress and relief; the hassle of getting children to school and picking them up is removed, and they are more easily supervised by their parents. However, this additional stress of constantly caring for young children can be a burden for parents. As far as university goes, platforms such as Zoom have allowed lectures and assignments to remain the same. College students have gone home to spend this time with their families and work in a safe quarantined environment. Their curriculum has not been as lenient and flexible for students as for high school students, as it keeps the strict deadlines and self-studying university has always implemented. High school has faced a much different transition, and one that may have consequences to the study and work ethics of students in the future of their education.
In forethought, the idea of learning from the comfort of a bed seemed exciting to many students. Many at the time were feeling pressured, frustrated and anxious—going home for such an extensive period appeared to be a relief. There are exceptions, of course, but the general feel on campus months ago was one of anticipation. It seems a lot more convenient, stress-free and flexible to wake up later and work in bed, with plenty of free time in the afternoon. Still, there are underlying problems that many students are seeing now.
Many of student’s time at school revolved around their social life: seeing peers and teachers is what kept a lot of high schooler’s going. Being in quarantine for so long has made this clear, as many have expressed missing school solely for this one reason. In addition to this there is a large commentary on the subject of online schooling. There are a plethora of student videos expressing the optional feel of school now. While this could simply be an adjustment period, it is a productivity issue. As reminders come only from cell phones, receiving education online requires students to be much more self-reliant and responsible. There is a lack of supervision that students will inevitably take advantage of. Cheating and taking shortcuts through lessons is no feat with internet access, and while students will see this as an advantage, it is only so initially. Classes can be vigorous and uninteresting to some students. However, the life skills such as learning and studying are lost when they are not being used as they are on campus. Without putting in work and truly learning, students will not build up these learning and studying schools that are vital during college years.
Here is the bottom line: online schooling is not for everyone, but neither is learning on-campus. For some, independent studies are optimal, while for others, being around friends and teachers creates a better environment to learn. Both can be tools used by high school students to effectively learn and grow, it only takes self-reflection and a choice-allowing school district to decide which is best for each student.
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