When I found out that the first quarter of my junior year was going to be fully remote, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I certainly wasn’t excited to be going back to school when Riverside-Brookfield High School was planning to follow a hybrid learning model, but hearing that we would be transitioning to a fully remote plan only made me more uncertain about the upcoming year.
As the year has gone on, I’ve slowly gotten more accustomed to remote learning, and I’ve settled into a pretty consistent schedule. The start of my day doesn’t differ too much from a normal day; I can just sleep in a little bit later since my commute is only about 15 feet.
The first couple of classes go very slowly, since everyone’s tired and nobody’s too eager to answer the teachers’ questions. One major component of class over Zoom is the breakout room. It’s essentially the online version of group work.
We go into breakout rooms every day during my first-period class. My teacher randomly assigns them, and waiting to see who you get put in a room with is probably the most exciting part of school (which is sad).
If you get a group with your friends or people you know, it’s great. But there’s always the chance that your partner is asleep with their camera off, which means your group work just turned into solo work.
My classes don’t differ from each other too much. For the most part, my teachers will either give a lecture or have us do a worksheet that becomes homework if we don’t finish.
Many of my teachers have been utilizing something of a flipped classroom model. We watch lesson videos for homework and work on questions in class. This has probably been the best part about remote learning, as it provides me with more help from my teachers than I would get if they were giving a lecture that I couldn’t interrupt.
A major problem I’ve had throughout remote learning is trying to figure out which assignments are due on which date. Due to classes often being rushed, my teachers normally don’t tell us the homework until the very end of the period, and trying to figure out which assignment to do, and where to submit it can be very confusing.
I appreciate all of my teachers’ hard work, and I know that remote learning is teaching us as much as it possibly can, but the problem is just that, “as much as it possibly can” isn’t very much.
Not having any social interaction whatsoever throughout the day takes a toll and disengages me from learning. I find it harder to stay focused in class, and thus I don’t learn as much as I would in an in-person model.
When adding this to the fact that it’s much more difficult to get individual help from my teachers, learning anywhere near the amount that I could in a classroom setting becomes impossible.
Now, none of this is to say that remote learning is the worst thing in the world. I know I’ll get through it, even if we do had to continue with it into the second quarter. However, I also know that continuing with only remote learning any further than the first quarter will be greatly detrimental to myself and my peers, and if there is any way to get RB’s students back in the classroom, we need to take it.
Liam Mathews is a junior at Riverside-Brookfield High School and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Clarion.