Many Perspectives: EHS Adapts to Remote Learning

Many+Perspectives%3A+EHS+Adapts+to+Remote+Learning

By SAANVI BHUTEJA ‘23, PRAGYA SINGH ‘23, and VASUMATHI VENKAT ‘22

Looking back at March 13 of 2020, many people, including students and teachers, believed that this virus was another distant issue that wasn’t worth much attention. Little did anyone know that this day-long break would stretch to become months of quarantine, even continuing into the following academic year.

Between the differences in virtual-learning through the spring and through the fall, many students and teachers faced difficulties as they passed through these unprecedented times. Here are their perspectives: 

Teacher Perspectives:

“Honors is a lot quicker paced and it wouldn’t be so needy if we didn’t have to do everything so fast. Lower level classes need a lot more help with uploading, etc. Everyone needs help in general but it varies based on the different courses” — Mrs. LeeAnne McKnight, Pre-Calc Honors

“For honors, virtual learning was easier to transition since many more students checked the classroom and read the assignments posted. Lower level classes do everything in class and that doesn’t leave a lot of time to engage in material outside of school.” — Ms. Emily Newbold, English 10 Honors

“There’s nothing more that I would really do in person that I can’t do virtually with this technology, except hands on labs of course.” — Mr. Michael Evans, AP Chemistry

“The big difference is that there is less interaction because life doesn’t have a mute button. Our reactions are stifled online. I’m trying to have people unmute, so they have authentic interaction.” — Mr. Patrick McCaffrey, AP English Language and Composition

“After 23 years of teaching, virtual learning has made me feel like a first-year teacher again.” — Mrs. Lynn Harris, AP Calculus AB

Student Perspectives:

Virtual vs. in-person learning

“In-person learning is a lot more beneficial compared to remote learning. In-person learning gives a face to face interaction with teachers and other students which allows a clearer communication between peers and teachers. In-person learning is also more enjoyable and more active, compared to staring at a computer screen for the whole school day. I would definitely prefer in-person learning over remote learning because I have missed the thrill that I used to feel from going to school and this past Monday and Tuesday  it became evident just how much I had missed the experience. I believe remote learning has made school more stressful and less friendly because the safety of a friend group does not exist, and assignments are piled high when distractions keep coming. All in all, I miss being in school as before and I hope that many more will see the difference that I do between remote learning and in-person learning.” — Aimee Jose ‘24

“Virtual learning feels more relaxed than in school learning, although there is still stress because it feels like we are going to be underprepared for college or AP tests. This year, online learning is more structured and feels mandatory, whereas previously when quarantine first started, online learning didn’t seem as serious. However, I like the fact that we can stay home and the environment is more comfortable. Generally, I would prefer in person learning as we can learn more content and in depth. There is more freedom to ask questions and “stay after class” to talk to the teacher. The fact that we are online causes us to be more distracted whereas in school we would be more focused during class. The social aspect of being able to interact with peers is a benefit, although these would only work in an environment without COVID. I struggle the most with focusing during class because it is easy to go on our phones and text our friends during class.” — Ishani Kunadharaju ‘22

“Remote learning makes it so that materials are more easily accessible and, thus, makes the whole online school process more convenient. At the same time, though, in some classes, we end up mostly having to teach ourselves.” — Dhani Girdhar ‘24

“Online can’t hold a candle to in-person.”

NATHANIAL WITKOWSKI ’21

“I do not believe that virtual learning is more beneficial than in-person learning. I would rather have in-person learning because I feel myself struggling to have time to sleep and recharge. I am surprised by the workload that certain teachers are expecting us to complete in the given time frame.” — Mohita Ilamurugan ’24

“I think the most challenging aspect of virtual learning is the amount of time we spend on screens. After you finish your online classes you have to spend even more time on your MacBook to do homework. Besides that we also go on screens to take breaks from school and so increased screen time can sometimes cause a strain both physically and mentally. Also, having the majority of your schoolwork be on your MacBook can sometimes decrease motivation.” — Nimisha Kumar ‘22

“Virtual learning feels a lot like I’m not in school and I’m taking an obligatory online course. It feels like school is a joke now. Had we been in school, it would feel a lot more real. I hate virtual learning and want to be back in school, although it is not the safest.” — Madhav Mandala ‘24

“Remote learning is not very fun, as labs in science have to be done through online means. It is less beneficial than in-person learning. I would prefer in person learning more than virtual learning, as it is less chaotic and more fun. I’m finding myself struggling with internet problems the most during this virtual experience, as the internet in Edison is of very poor quality.” — Devam Mondal ‘24

“I actually really like virtual learning. While I do miss interactions with my friends and teachers, I feel like educationally it’s the same.  Teachers would teach students how they would teach us if we were in school.  For me personally, it is a little difficult to stay focused as it easy to get distracted in virtual learning. You could easily be on your phone texting when someone is teaching.” — Shrinidhi Ramachandran ‘23

“I feel fine about remote learning. I do not feel that remote learning has inconvenienced me, and I’m happier at home.” — Nicole Le ‘22

“Remote learning has affected my grades and my mental health in a few ways. Learning and especially going into high school online is so different and I’m really not getting the experience I wanted to. At this point, I’m not sure whether the subjects are harder or I’m struggling to learn virtually. The adjustment is an interesting one to get used, but I’m getting there. Taking it day by day, I hope we can see ourselves out of this pandemic soon.” — Jia Shah ‘24

“Online can’t hold a candle to in-person. Quarantine has prevented me from doing college tours. Without these tours I’m unable to get a feel for the campus… which probably won’t matter anyways since class will still be online.” — Nathanial Witkowski ‘21

“I think virtual learning definitely isn’t as helpful as in person learning. I get distracted a lot more and I’m not in a “learning environment.” I think I also learn better when it’s in person. Keeping up with all the assignments and taking tests and quizzes online is a weird struggle… Oftentimes there’ll be club meetings at the same time too so I join both the meetings and try to pay attention to both… “ — Alyson Zhang ‘22

Tips

To Students:

“My biggest tip would be to physically write down your assignments for the day on paper. I’m using my paper planner more than I ever had and this way I don’t forget to do assignments. Plus, the satisfaction of crossing off a task after you complete it gives me extra motivation. — Nimisha Kumar ‘22

“My tip would probably have to be don’t let yourself get easily distracted and try to focus more. This would prevent future problems.” — Shrinidhi Ramachandran ‘23

“I would advise other students to freely speak up in class and to ask questions frequently.” — Aimee Jose ‘24

“To other students, I would recommend maintaining a routine similar to one on a pre-pandemic school day in order to stay organized and prepared, as a lack thereof has caused a great deal of unnecessary panic for me this year.” — Vinay Menon ‘23

To Teachers:

“If I could give one tip to teachers, it would be to consider that the students also have work from other classes to complete as well as their own.” —Mohita Ilamurugn ‘24

“To teachers, I wish they would be more clear at moments because since we are virtual, it is more difficult to understand an assignment and not as easy to ask questions. So though we should figure things out ourselves, it would be more useful if teachers specified their goals and objectives.” — Shrinidhi Ramachandran ‘23

“My teachers are doing a great job in being open for questions and for extra help, which helps me to feel comfortable speaking with them. I think a beneficial technique to teaching online is to allow students to access all information that is taught during class for their reference. ” — Aimee Jose ‘24

“Some of my teachers that I find have adapted to remote learning well are Mrs. Frey (English 9) and Mrs. Andriano (Alg 2) because they implement flexible ways for everyone to learn and perform their best. Some of the ways they teach include using the share screen option to show their cursor and define/explain what they’re doing, which helps the learning process, especially in math. In english class, the teacher gives a lot of options to choose from regarding writing assignments, essays, etc. Another thing that a lot of the teachers have implemented that help me a lot are office hours, where I can get help to either further my learning or my performance.” — Mei Kim ‘24

“I think that teachers who were already doing most of their teaching electronically adapted to remote learning well. Finding online alternatives to classroom procedures/objects has made the switch to virtual learning much easier. To teachers, I would recommend using the “Classwork” tab of Google Classroom to its full potential. This feature allows for effective organization of class materials, which is beneficial for general use and future reference.” — Vinay Menon ‘23

Impact on School and Extracurriculars

“So far clubs are ok, I’m not entirely sure how it’ll work out… I still have to sign up for the SATs too so I have to study for those.” — Alyson Zhang ‘22

“COVID has decreased the intensity of my education as topics are not covered in depth. It requires me to learn a lot of the content on my own, and I find that I cannot rely on teachers as much as I did before. In terms of standardized testing such as the SAT, COVID has negatively impacted my experiences. My test was cancelled twice and Collegeboard was not supportive at all. Luckily I got to take the SAT but because of COVID I missed out on the opportunity of getting it done earlier.” — Ishani Kunadharaju ‘22

“Remote learning has not affected my academic performance much, as I apply much of the same attitude to my schoolwork now as I did before the pandemic. Club meetings have become more flexible, which has had both positive and negative impacts: This flexibility allowed clubs to meet at different time intervals without conflicting with each other, but has also caused several scheduling conflicts with other activities at home.” — Vinay Menon ‘23

“I think that in person learning is much more beneficial because some stuff is just easier to learn in a classroom. I like virtual learning but it isn’t as beneficial as in person learning because some people just learn better that way. I like that my teachers organized all the work so you can go to the classwork tab in the classroom and see everything perfectly organized. My grades are good but I think they could be better if I were in person, maybe that’s just because I learn better that way.” — Sia Shah ‘24

Despite all the obstacles COVID-19 has thrown at the nation throughout these unexpected times, EHS teachers and students have proven their resilience in a crisis by adapting slowly but surely to this new age of education.