The Distance Learning Experience

Students and Teachers

Iris Breckenridge, Staffer

With social distancing, online school and the world being pretty much on hold, life is a little crazy right now. This is a whole new experience for everyone and everyone’s experience is different. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own world that we don’t stop and think about what others are experiencing. For example, it’s easy to forget that our teachers have lives outside of school, just like us.

As it turns out, their lives aren’t so different. Like students, many teachers have been spending time with their families, going outside and trying new things. 

Math teacher and football coach Christopher Hubley has been enjoying the comfort of his own backyard and being with his family. “I like to sit in the backyard and relax before dinner. In the evenings we watch something as a family,” Hubley said. 

Also taking advantage of the nice weather and extra freetime are math teacher Kristi Taylor and her family, who are training for a 5k; sophomores, Karolina Shipton, who ran a marathon and Gabe Olvera, who takes advantage of the weather by running everyday. Follow their lead and try something new because it’s always fun and helps pass the time. 

School wise, it seems that teachers and students alike struggle with stress, motivation and the lack of communication and feedback of online school. For teachers, the lack of feedback from students is one of the biggest struggles. 

“The personal interaction is missing. I [could] look out at a class and judge who is understanding what by the looks on their faces,” Hubley said. “I don’t have that now. I can evaluate things that are being handed in, but I have no way of knowing if it is just being copied off slader or copied from a friend.” 

For students, learning outside the classroom makes it much harder to get help. Even with the teachers putting in extra effort with the videos and office hours, it isn’t the same as being able to go into their classroom and talk to them in person. 

Olvera said that at home, “getting help and advice from others” is harder, while Shipton agreed, talking about concepts being much easier to understand. “Learning at school helps me to go to my teachers’ classrooms and talk to them in person to better understand things. It also makes information a lot clearer,” she said.

In terms of stress, it affects people differently. Many are stressed out during this time, but there are also those who are not. For example, Taylor has been more stressed out by online school than regular school. Being a part time teacher this year, Taylor has had to dedicate more time to making the lesson videos and contacting students for online school than she is used to. 

Taylor explained, “I’m more [stressed] because I’m spending 20 percent of my time on my lessons and the [other 70 percent] tracking down students… It’s more administrative work than actually working on bettering the lessons.” 

With the opposite point of view, English teacher Lisa Mitchell finds herself to be easily motivated and less stressed. “During regular school, I rarely have an evening or weekend when I am not occupied with some form of schoolwork, but now, I am able to do paper grading during the workday itself, which is really, really nice for me,” Mitchell said. “[And] in some ways I like [the different grading] because I can be more focused on the central skills rather on the small gradations of quality within the work. It feels more meaningful to me.” 

Fundamentally, stress is based on someone’s personal life and their motivation. Sophomore Amber Prasad agreed saying, “Online, it’s mostly you teaching yourself and motivating yourself. The teachers definitely do help a lot with video lessons but having to do stuff online is very different than doing things in a classroom.” 

Without being in class and having more freetime, it can be harder to stay motivated to continue doing school work. Even Taylor admits to struggling with motivation. “[The videos] take a lot of time and without feedback…I feel like I’m talking to a wall,” she said. “But when I hear from students, even if it’s little or small, it’s like I’m talking to people and I can do this.”

It can be hard to stay optimistic but taking it one day at a time and enjoying the extra time with family is important. “I’m always rushing through my days, [so] it’s nice to have a break for however long this will last,” Olvera said, trying to see the positive side of the situation. By thinking positively like Taylor and Olvera, and appreciating the little things, hopefully everyone can stay motivated until life gets better.