From wearing masks everywhere to stocking up on toilet paper and self-isolating, society has undoubtedly been forced to make many adjustments to the way we live during the progression of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these adaptations are more complicated than others. While it’s fairly simple to wear a mask when going out in public, it’s much less simple to entirely alter the environment in which students learn and transform a curriculum into an entirely online, contactless education.
While necessary, online school has posed many challenges for both students and teachers attempting to make the most out of these obstacle-ridden circumstances. The Drops of Ink staff has compiled a few of the aspects of e-learning that have been proven to be the most difficult for us, and what we think can be done about them.
When taking classes from home, a student’s classwork and homework space essentially become binded into one. As a result, homework and schoolwork become increasingly difficult to differentiate. It is tough to feel as if we are our own teacher at times, and that the work being assigned is much more demanding than that of in-person school.
This is especially true considering the absence of a teacher in the room, which already makes it much more challenging to learn a given lesson. Reducing the intensity of the individual workload given would go a long way for the retention of information and overall quality of education for students.
too much screen time
Sharing a workspace for both class time and homework is not only a strain on a student’s ability to learn and work effectively. It also becomes a strain on our eyes, minds and bodies, as we sit in the same space with the same surroundings and the same screen, often for about eight hours each day. Waking up in your workspace can be more efficient at times, as well as already being at home after school to be able to jump right into homework. However, with hours upon hours of lectures, assignments, tests and projects, all back-to-back and in the same environment, it seems nearly impossible to catch a break. One thing that has been beneficial is teachers’ implementation of mid-class breaks; just being able to have those 5-10 minutes in each class to stretch your legs, step outside, or just get a small hiatus from the seemingly never-ending train of schoolwork is beneficial.
toughest day of the week
With all eight classes in one day, Wednesdays tend to leave students mentally exhausted. The ceaseless amounts of assignments seem almost intolerable at times, and Wednesdays leave almost no room for catching up on or reviewing work. Additionally, the 45-minute classes seem almost counterproductive, as it is simply not enough time to get anything substantial done in an online class due to the time used logging into and out of class, waiting for the entire group, poor connections, and other distractions.. Those 45 minutes for each class can be turned into something much more beneficial to both students and teachers: an asynchronous Wednesday would help immensely when it comes to getting work done and understanding a given topic. And with optional office hours during this time, students would have the option of recieving help from teachers while still getting a small break to breathe and catch up in their subjects.
expectations vs. reality
The toughest part of this adjustment is that with all of this new, uncharted territory, expectations remain similar, if not more demanding, than in-person school. Needless to say, this varies from class to class. Learning math is difficult on its own for many students. Learning math on a computer, with a stylus, with no in-person guidance and much less one-on-one help between students and teachers, is an entirely new level of difficulty. Furthermore, many students have additional responsibilities due to the pandemic (watching younger siblings, taking care of family members, getting a job to help pay rent/bills), and are still expected to execute a heavy workload in each class. Everyone at LHS is adapting to our new normal right now, and to attempt this style of learning while holding the same expectations as before is nearly unattainable.