By Sydney McDermott
As the coronavirus pandemic begins forcing people to stay home, the school began making adjustments to their system of teaching. Thus zoom meetings and online assignments were born in a similar fashion to online college classes. The idea of online classes is appealing to me because I plan on attending some online classes when I get to college in the next couple of years. So I was excited to get some first hand experience before college began.
The Monday before remote learning started, some teachers began posting assignments for the week. Because my mother runs a daycare from home, I was also put in charge of helping the one elementary school student with her remote learning. So we went up into my makeshift classroom and began doing some assignments that she was struggling with. It was crazy to see her with a school issued iPad, using all the Google classrooms, docs, and slides. I think it’s amazing to see this technology being used by younger children to help further their education both during their normal school days, and during remote learning.
On Tuesday, the first day of remote learning, I turned on my laptop but it simply wouldn’t load. It said I was connected to a secure WiFi, but nothing would load on my laptop. Not classroom, email, or anything else and I kind of panicked. I was really worried that something was wrong and that nothing would work. I ended up having to put Zoom on my phone and go to my first class. When I got there, some other students were also complaining about the connectivity issues, and I was so grateful that I wasn’t the only one.
After our meeting ended, I texted my brother, who works as IT support for Kiewit, about the problem I was having and if he had any solutions. My brother was working from home, so he responded right away and began giving me some solutions, but nothing was working. A couple of minutes later, my mother got a notification from her Facebook parent group saying that it was a district wide issue. That definitely helped ease some of my anxieties as I knew it wasn’t only me who was having this issue. The post online also said that they were missing a piece and were going to get it the next day.
As I began doing my assignments for the week on my mother’s old laptop, I began thinking about the remote learning we are doing and if it was really worth it. I can understand why we went into this remote learning, and I am very grateful that the school’s are implementing this for our safety. But I worry that we aren’t getting the same amount of education we would have if we stayed in school. I understand it’s hard for the teachers to create lesson plans that will be easily accessible for us and completed in the week’s time. But some teachers are not giving us enough assignments and lessons, and while I don’t want any more assignments than I already do, I still want to learn and continue to further my education. Also, some students and teachers thrive on being social with one another, so I can assume that they are having trouble with being away from each other. Personally, I am not very social but this is still hard, being away from friends and my teachers and not being able to talk in person with them.
There are a lot of positives about remote learning though, such as school doesn’t technically start until 8:30, so we get to sleep in more. Plus we can technically stay in our pajamas all day long, without judgement. Another awesome part is that we get an hour and a half lunch, so we can have a long lunch to relax for a while. And the best thing is that we get to be independent, we get to decide when we work on certain assignments and we get to work at our own speed on the assignments.
As we continue to take part in this remote learning experience, my opinion changes. I go from happy to have remote learning, to upset that our education isn’t being fulfilled, to happy again that I get to learn from my home.
Recently, the announcement came that the school year will continue to be held from the comfort of our home. I know it must have been an extremely tough decision to make, and I am glad that they have chosen something that will help to keep us healthy and safe. It was such a hard transition from school to remote learning, and everyone was looking forward to going back. But that’s not possible now, and that is a hard pill to swallow. But the administrators made a decision, and I think we all need to respect that, even if we have our worries about remote learning.