I think the school year should have started off as it ended last year for virtual learning. Last year, virtual learning worked by the students going to their classes each day for 50 minutes and the teacher just explained the concepts on how to do the assigned work correctly. The only thing I didn’t like about virtual learning last year was that they didn’t give us enough time to complete assignments and all the work was due by Friday.
This year, virtual learning is different because we have classes for 45 minutes and the teachers assign asynchronous homework. We have to do a lot of assignments and it feels like 20 assignments a day. I understand that they want us to do homework to make sure we understand the content, but the time demands can be overwhelming. Most students are at an age where they can get a job and some of them work, which can be stressful when some teachers want the homework to be due the next day. Some students are tired when they get off of work and they don’t have a lot of time.
Teachers need to understand that we have lives outside of school. They don’t know people’s situations or what’s going on in their students’ everyday lives. Some students may be joining a Google Meet while at work, and some teachers want students to turn on their camera for participation points. When people join the meet, I feel like they shouldn’t have to turn their cameras on because being in the meet and answering questions for the lesson is what’s important. I like that they gave us more time to complete the assignments because all assignments are due the next Monday, which gives us a weekend to complete the work. I also like that we have a support time class to get help if you don’t understand some of the material. Sometimes virtual learning is frustrating because when you need help and you email the teacher, some of them respond the next day. Now, I understand that teachers have their own lives too, but the lag in communication can often slow our momentum.
Teachers should do warm-ups and start a lesson, and not necessarily talk about what you have to do for the asynchronous work because most of it is explained in the modules. I also like that we don’t have school on Wednesdays because that gives us time to catch up on any work. Some teachers assign work on Wednesdays, which I feel like they shouldn’t do because that is an opportunity for students to get caught up with their assignments. When teachers assign more work on Wednesdays, it is putting more stress on us because we have to do missing assignments and then the assigned Wednesday work on top of that. In addition, I think that the teachers should teach lessons slower because we learn new things every week and some students may forget how to do a certain thing because they are so worried about the new thing they learned.
Overall, virtual learning is tough and some adjustments have made this year easier while some have made learning slightly harder.