School’s Back In Session
We’ve been back in school a little over a month. My kids started the year by going Tuesday/Thursday and every other Friday on a block schedule. My son (7th grade) is now back at school five days a week on a block schedule. My daughter (10th grade) is still on the hybrid schedule, but when she is at school, she has 7 classes per day.
No doubt the beginning of the year was full of bumps: Chromebooks that wouldn’t log into Google Classroom, hours of virtual school work, assignments being put in as zeros … and these were just a few of the hiccups we encountered. Now that we have been in for a while, I feel like we’ve gotten the hang of things, so I decided to sit down with my daughter and get her view of how it is going this year.
Through The Eyes of A Student
Amaya is 15 and a sophomore at a local public school. She does not take honors or AP classes, and she makes good grades. Outside of school, she is a competitive gymnast (spends about 20 hours in practice a week) and works one night a week as an assistant gymnastics coach.
Questions & Answers
What do you find to be the most difficult adjustment with a hybrid schedule?
The most difficult things have been dealing with computer issues, making sure assignments are submitted on time and that the teacher received them. Also working at home can have a lot of distractions.
What do you miss most about a traditional school schedule?
I miss having a solid routine, classroom time that allows for teaching and for us to ask questions in person. Having an outline of assignments and when they are due would be nice. Sometimes it feels like we are missing an assignment being posted and then rushing to complete it by the scheduled time.
Do you find there to be more homework with this schedule?
Everything is assigned through Google Classroom, so it does feel like we are always on the Chromebook doing work at home, so even if it is technically classwork, it feels like homework. I am on my Chromebook all the time doing work, unless I am in class or at gym, I don’t feel like I have any down time.
Do you feel like you are missing the social aspect of school? Do you feel like this is impacting your mental health?
We are all missing the social aspects of school, from being with friends at school (the days are split by last name, so not everyone is at school on the same days) to going to after school functions like games and dances. I don’t feel depressed or unhappy, but I do know lots of people my age that are having a very hard time with this.
Do you feel prepared for exams?
No, I feel like the main focus is turning in assignments and busy work, and that a lot of the information I am learning isn’t being retained because I am always thinking about what is due next and making sure I am managing my time appropriately.
Do you feel the grading seems to be the same, more lenient, or more strict with hybrid schooling?
I do feel that the teachers are being very lenient with grades. They are feeling the pressure with the hybrid schedule just like us; we are all trying to figure it out.
What do you like most and what do you like least about the hybrid schedule?
Most: I like being able to sleep in (8am wake up vs 5:30am). When I wake up and have coffee while I start my online learning, I do feel like I am more focused and ready to learn. I also like being able to do things on my own time, the flexibility is nice. *there is no required time/schedule that the students have to be logged in*
Least: Sometimes I am overwhelmed with trying to learn with just the online videos or PowerPoints, especially in math and biology. It can be hard to communicate with teachers when I have questions or to verify an assignment was sent. When we have computer issues, it is stressful.
Do you feel like this schedule is preparing you for the future? Time management and accountability?
Yes and no. I know a lot of college classes are like this and I know that by the time I get in college, I will have been using the online classrooms and turning in work this way for a few years and will be more comfortable with it. I do feel like I am learning to manage my time better. The stress is a lot to handle right now.
What is one thing you would like teachers to know about how you feel you and your peers are doing with this schedule?
That we appreciate you being lenient with grading, and we understand you are learning how to do school this way too. That there does feel like more work is being assigned and that we are always on our Chromebooks trying to make sure things are completed on time.
What is one thing you would like parents to know?
Most of us are doing our very best, but we are stressed out with these changes. We miss our friends, we miss “normal” life. Online learning is challenging. Even if you don’t think your student is struggling with schoolwork or personal issues, check in on them. Try to be a little more understanding and patient with us.