It’s a huge bummer.
Distance learning was a struggle for almost everybody last semester, from students to teachers, and from parents to district officials. The hopes of returning to in-face school have been dashed, and students are not excited.
At Northgate High School, students will be doing complete distance learning until further notice because school and health officials say it isn’t safe to return to school. Students may realize this is for the best, but they can’t help but be disappointed that the coming school year will be very untraditional.
When asked questions such as “How are you feeling about distance learning?” or “Do you feel like you’ll be able to learn adequately over distance learning?” or “What will you miss most about campus?” students at Northgate had a lot to say. Below are the edited responses of some of them.
Lily Wright, a sophomore, does a good job summing up the general dilemma of distance learning when she remarks, “I think being able to learn adequately during distance learning is going to be a struggle for all of us, though I am determined to get the most out of it and I am willing to work extra hard to understand difficult topics being taught through a computer. I think if all students are willing to take those extra steps to help themselves learn, then we will be able to get as much out of distance learning as possible, but with that said there will be many obstacles to overcome.”
Northgate seniors are not looking forward to having their last year at high school be such a disappointment.
“I am definitely dreading distance learning for a couple reasons,” says Ethan Hart, a senior. “One of the things that makes school manageable and keeps high school students from constant stress about our society’s ridiculous emphasis on high GPAs is the people in those schools. We’re able to get a break from it all to talk to friends, go out, and have fun. But due to everything that is going on, students — particularly seniors and juniors — are going to have no way out from the stress that school brings, and they are asking questions that we don’t have answers to yet. What’s going to happen with SATs and ACTs this year? How are colleges going to respond? Distance learning is going to make my senior year the most disappointing year of high school.”
Incoming freshmen are feeling just as stressed. Such a big transition is made even more difficult by the prospect of learning over a computer.
Reagan Rasmussen, an incoming freshman says, “It is stressful because it’s already a big transition. Then on top of that adding distance learning, where you can’t see anybody in person makes it more stressful. It’s harder to communicate not being in person and when you change schools, communication is really helpful.”
Most students have found that learning over the computer is much more difficult than sitting in a classroom.
“Last semester I was very diligent on all my schoolwork, Micky Rajecki, a senior, recollects. “I attended all Zoom meetings, took notes, actually studied for the tests, and asked questions when things were unclear but I still feel as if I didn’t learn much or as much as I would in the classroom. I also learn more in class and by asking questions, so having that taken away was very difficult for me.”
Maddie C, a sophomore who requested her last name not be used, adds, “I think it will be challenging to adequately learn during distance learning because we lose that social interaction with everyone. It’s easier to learn when there’s hands-on learning included in the curriculum.”
“I do want to be able to come back to school and be in a real classroom as soon as possible. Since we aren’t allowed yet, I am ready to take on the challenges again. Well, as ready as I can be for looking at a computer and trying to learn something real from it,” responds Lily Wright.
Although the majority of students feel negatively about distance learning, some students are optimistic.
“I think that I will be able to learn adequately,” says Andrew Galbraith, a junior. “The best thing a teacher can do for this coming year is make a schedule that is available to everyone, that lists what we are learning that day. This is one of the other advantages of online school. If a teacher’s teaching style doesn’t cater to your learning style, you can do research on your own and find your own way to learn for yourself.”
Reagan Rasmussen adds, “I’m excited for being able to have a more flexible schedule. I’m able to do other things besides school rather than having a set time for everything like I normally have to do.”
“I do better academically with distance learning because I can better manage my time, but that’s the only plus in my book,” Ethan Hart responds.
Even though there are pros to doing distance learning, there are many things students will miss about actually being on campus.
Micky Rajecki notes, “I will miss being able to see different friends throughout the day in the halls and going to school activities such as football games and Homecoming.”
“I’ll miss walking to the tennis courts after school and working on my homework with my friends before practice.” Maddie C. continues, “And I’ll obviously miss my lunch spot.”
“The thing I’ll miss most is the people,” says Ethan Hart.
A heavy blow to the students was the idea of sports being cancelled.
“I play a sport every season and look forward to it.” Micky Rajecki adds, “I am upset that they are cancelled. Ever since I was a freshman I looked forward to senior night. It’s also a time outside of school that I can be surrounded by friends which I enjoy.”
But some have come up with their own ideas to stay active.
Andrew Galbraith notes, “I completely understand why they would be cancelled or postponed. Luckily, I have my own sports I play on my own time or with small groups of friends such as mountain biking or Frisbee or tennis or spike ball.”
In conclusion, distance learning is a huge bummer for students. Not only do they miss out on things like homecoming, sports, and seeing friends, but their learning style is very cramped. Students can only hope that they’ll be able to return to school as quickly as possible.