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The First Day of High School… But Online!

It’s finally here, the first day of school, but this time, online school! Some places around the world have started in-person school with precautions, but since I’m a high school student in the United States, school is starting, and will probably remain, online. All the teachers and administrators at my school district have been hard at work for the past few months to set up a system for students to be able to continue their education as smoothly as possible, so thank you to all teachers and staff who have been working hard during this pandemic!

7:30 – Time to wake up!

Unfortunately for me, school still starts early, at 8:00, so I woke up at 7:30 to get ready for school. Since it’s the first day of school, my school had a welcome event for new students that I didn’t have to attend, so I spent the first two hours watching online lectures and refreshing my math skills.

Also, while it might be obvious to some people, here’s a tip to maximize your learning! Yesterday, I wanted to finish watching online lectures, but I realized that I still had so many things to do. I decided to play an online lecture through a Bluetooth speaker while I finished up my everyday tasks, such as washing dishes, brushing my teeth, or cleaning up my room, and this actually worked pretty well!

I would definitely do it again, and it’s similar to a morning podcast, but you can listen to anything you want by connecting your computer to a Bluetooth speaker, as long as the video or lecture doesn’t contain visuals that are crucial to the presentation and you don’t need to take notes. In my case, I chose a particular lecture where the teacher explains the material well, so I didn’t need to see the visuals to understand the presentation.

This year, one of my goals is to be better with time management, since I have a lot of things going on this year, so I made sure to avoid using my phone too much in the morning. I believe it’s important to set goals for every new school year since a new school year is a time for you to reset many things, such as grades, so I prefer setting goals during the new school year over New Year’s Resolutions!

10:00 – Class officially starts

At 10:00, class officially started, so I searched my email for the meeting links. I don’t exactly like how the meeting links are set up, since they get lost in my email and Zoom often malfunctions or requires me to sign in using another account, so I was a bit late because of technology issues.

However, all of my teachers were really nice, although a bit flustered, but so far online school is going well! We didn’t start any new material since it’s only the first day of school, but most of my teachers introduced themselves and showed us how to use the online school apps. Another one of my goals was to be more attentive and friendly in class, so I turned on my camera and tried to respond to questions.

10;55 – It’s lunchtime!

Then we had lunch from 10:55 to 11:55, which was a bit too early in my opinion, but I took the time to finish more online lectures (yes, there’s more, I take way too many online courses) and type this blog post.

I decided it would be best to eat lunch during the designated time, since the next available time for me to eat lunch would be at around 2:00. I did enjoy the fact that we had an hour for lunch, since it’s good to have a relaxing lunch without time constraints.

After lunch, I had my next block of classes, where some of my teachers had planned some icebreaker games. I noticed that some teachers were very particular about us keeping our video cameras on, while others didn’t care much about that at all.

I started to get tired after around 4 class periods, and it definitely can get tiring staring at screens for an entire day. I was especially tired during 6th period, so even though I was very excited for that class, my enthusiasm wasn’t visable since I was so tired after a day of classes. However, all of my teachers were very kind and understanding about everyone’s situation.

How has school changed compared to in-person instruction?

Even though none of my teachers explained the grading system in class, it seemed like there would be more projects and lax due dates. Last year, as long as we occasionally showed up or contacted the teacher once during a six week period, we would receive an A for the class.

While I don’t think that was a perfect solution since a lot of students decided to skip class altogether, it does allow students that can’t attend lessons because of situations at home to be able to pass the class.

This year, my teachers seemed to still be deciding how assignments and tests will be graded, but it will be on a typical American Grading Scale rather than a Pass/Fail system. We will also have tests, quizzes, and homework as usual that will make up most of our grade.

The Final Verdict: What do I think about online school?

But the final decision, is online school satisfactory? I think it gives a lot of flexibility, since I have more time during breaks and after school to learn on my own, and take courses that I’m interested in. I would’ve never had the time to take online college courses or work on my own projects during school, and surprisingly, quarantine and the extra time has made me incredibly motivated and excited to learn.

However, the online format does make it more difficult to pay attention and avoid distractions, and many of the hands-on activities or lab work that are important to understanding the material are now sadly cancelled. It’s very draining too, and my eyes got tired from staring at the screen for so long. Online school also takes away the connection between people that exists in the classroom, since it can be difficult to have a conversation through Zoom, and despite my teachers’ efforts, there were significantly less interactions between teachers and classmates.

Overall, teachers and school staff have all worked hard to make online school the best it can be, and while I don’t think it replaces normal school, it is a great option for students who are willing to take initiative to continue their education by themselves! I do enjoy certain aspects of online school though, especially the flexibility and time it gives me to pursue my own interests, although I wish I could’ve participated in lab work and had more interactions with teachers and other students.

So for all of the students starting school online this year, maximize your online learning experience and take initiative to go find some online resources to pursue your interests!

Posted in Lifestyle

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