How is online schooling affecting students?


How is online schooling affecting students? As a student myself, I can tell you it’s tedious to do work in such a distracting environment such as my home. The Paw has conducted a series of interviews with students of all ages, to see how they’re coping with distance learning. 

Starting elementary students: How are they really getting by without the epic highs and lows of elementary school? “As adolescents work to form their identities, they pull away from their parents, and the peer group becomes very important” (Shanahan, McHale, Osgood, & Crouter, 2007). From class parties to field trips, it’s just not the same over zoom. Jaylynn Schordorf is a 9 year old 4th grader from Joe Henderson Elementary, who doesn’t really enjoy online school. It’s difficult to understand her teacher at times, and her classmates get glitchy. Although, she likes when the teacher shares the screen and it’s always clear. “I miss being able to actually know people, and miss making friends in person instead of on zoom” she explained to me. Jaylynn actually just started at Henderson this year, which makes forming relationships with other students a little more difficult. This year has been anything but normal. Jaylynn’s grades have gotten better she said, but being at home can be really distracting. 

Megan Blackburn is 13 and in 7th grade. From her point of view, it’s difficult to get one-on-one time with teachers. “It’s nice to work at my own speed, and I have more freedom to complete assignments over time” she explains. She misses seeing friends and being social, and agrees it’s hard to do that over zoom. She said her grades haven’t improved, and her workload is a lot. She said that she’s more easily distracted at home in her comfort zone, rather than at school. 

Syrine Cherifi is 16 and in 11th grade at Contra Costa School for Performing Arts. A couple of cons she said were “I despise the fact I live with a very large family, 17 people to be precise, it’s a loud house, and we always have people over. There’s not enough space, nor enough resources, therefore the classes that grade on keeping the mic on and face to face zooms, really don’t benefit me at all, and in fact, stress me out even more. I’ve eventually stopped showing up to classes that require those demands.” A couple of pros, she said, “We’re more enabled to rely on the internet, rather than studying. It’s helped my grades significantly”. She too misses her friends and the ability to socialize, and misses actually getting a real education. “I’ve cut off pretty much everyone from that school, it feels like highschool is already over” she said. Her teachers are ok, she explained, and she does get enough help. They do care about her.

A common theme with these interviews is missing social interactions. It’s hard to connect in the way we should be able to over Zoom. Grades have either slipped through our fingers, or we’re barely holding on. Distance learning is difficult, but we’re learning to overcome it.

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