By: Sydney Joa, 10th Grade
With the presence of virtual classes, school seems to have taken a new meaning for us students. While finishing assignments and learning new things may have once been something we looked forward to, virtual classes have completely sucked that right out of our new reality. Now it’s all about maintaining our grades afloat and trying to keep up with the seemingly never-ending coursework.
Although the virtual learning system has its perks, such as ensuring the safety of the students and staff alike, there are many downsides to this system that we have been wanting to point out. Therefore, I sent out a survey that allowed over 75 high school students of New Horizons to express what they’ve been feeling these past few months. When asked how they felt about virtual classes, 42.1% said they didn’t like them, 34.2% said they liked them, and the remaining 23.7% of the answers varied from “they’re okay”, “I have mixed feelings”, and “I feel indifferent [towards them].” To follow up on that question, I asked to please state why they felt that way. Numerous students answered that they’ve been feeling extremely unmotivated, having to stare at a screen for over seven to eight hours a day, and only being allowed extremely short breaks.
The issue is that the environment at home is completely different than the one we’re exposed to at school. Going to school, we’re provided a place where we can focus solely on our academic responsibilities, whereas in a household, some have chores to get done, siblings or family members to take care of, distractions that make us lose concentration; and with the current reality, the pandemic also adds to our many worries. What’s worse is that most teachers and school staff fail to see this, with a majority of the survey respondents agreeing that teachers are more demanding during virtual classes than during in-person classes. The majority agrees that students are being overworked, what with the overwhelming amounts of assignments, quizzes, projects, and consecutive hours of class that we have to manage every single day.
Going along with this, over 90% of the respondents agreed that some things are being unnecessarily asked of us during virtual schooling. Big projects such as Global Expo are hard to handle, considering most students can’t meet in-person to perform the experiments required to complete them. Some students think the physical education class is unnecessary, being required to wear the uniform while on a school call is futile, and that being obligated to have the camera on at all times is overwhelming. A great majority agrees that the schedule should be shortened considering how numerous classes can be done asynchronously because as one of the respondents put it – and a statement that many students can agree with – “more class time does not equal more learning.” This way screen time can be reduced for both the students and the academic staff, and we can spend the time gained by disconnecting and focusing on ourselves instead.
All things considered, the current situation is extremely hard for everyone and we appreciate those who have gone out of their way to make things more comfortable for us. However, as students, we can collectively agree that it has been hard trying to balance everything out, and implementing these small commodities may help ease and improve this already-challenging experience.