Since March, the Mustangs have been taking on more responsibilities at home. They have been occupied with watching their siblings, cooking for their families, and keeping up with online courses. With school starting up again in September, everything has changed with the drop of a hat. The district implemented e-learning until October, which means students once again have to adapt to the new system of online education–this time, with grades attached to the work they’re submitting.
This posed the question: Can students switch to online classes and still remain successful in their education? Or will there be inconsistencies in the way we learn, collaborate, and ultimately, succeed?
The transition of online learning has proved to be challenging for some students.
“I sometimes have trouble with due dates because I feel overwhelmed,” Neuqua sophomore Hiba Awais said.
Other students felt the shift to online learning just takes some adjustment.
“A lot of us have gone through our years of school in an actual classroom versus online. I think it is different from everybody,” Elizabeth Mansmith said. “I know that in middle school just transferring from paper to Chromebooks was very difficult. It was a new experience for everybody.”
While many students feel prepared to take on the year, others are worried that it might clash with their other responsibilities. Awais, who has two younger siblings to take care of at home, is starting to question her ability to juggle her home and school life.
“Because my parents are both working, I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up as fast as the other students who possibly don’t have the same responsibilities as I do,” Awais said.
Freshman Mohammad Hisham shared the same concern. He had many friends who were struggling with finding a balance between schoolwork and their responsibilities at home.
“I think if you’re having trouble managing your time and you have other things to do, it’s going to be difficult to get all of your work done,” Hisham said.
So, what is the solution? How should the district fill in the gaps between students who can succeed, and students who will inevitably struggle with this new system of learning?
English teacher Robert Tesmond spoke on the idea of helping students who will have trouble adapting to full-time e-learning starting Sept. 3.
“There were those who struggled with motivation last year and will still struggle this year. They need to be encouraged and need that teacher to push them. As teachers, we are working on new ways to keep the kids engaged,” Tesmond said.
He explained how he is adjusting to the sudden change in our education as well.
“E-learning I think, has been helping me improve my own teaching skills,” Tesmond said. “In the classroom, we can get too comfortable. It has made me realize when I’m really bad at explaining something. When I get fifteen emails from students saying they do not understand how to do an assignment, I can look at what I said and just send a video to see if I can explain it further.”
Students are asking for the same simple solution as well.
“I’d rather have maybe more Zoom meetings,” senior Julia Tesmond said. ” Just like meeting with the teacher more because I felt really odd giving a teacher the assignments that I didn’t know or hadn’t seen in a while. That would make me as a student feel more comfortable.”
However, having more Zoom meetings is not the only thing students suggest.
“I think the district should have some flexibility with possibly extending due dates, so your grade doesn’t get worse because of something that you can’t control,” Awais said.
During these unpredictable times, the thing that students want the most is flexibility and empathy towards their situations.
“I think teachers will apply the same philosophies about grading they had before,” Tesmond said. “But, I think they should re-evaluate what a grade means at this time. Students should not have to worry about one grade deciding their future.”