Turning the tables on online school
Students and teachers discuss the advantages and disadvantages of transitioning to online school
By Margaux Rentzel, Social Media Editor and Marketing Director, and Kaitlyn Resline, Student Life Editor
“To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” The song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” written by Pete Seeger, inspired by the book of Ecclesiastes, and released by the Byrds in 1965, speaks to many generations. The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!
In this trying time, there are advantages and disadvantages to everything, but everything has a purpose. Since the high school was shut down for the rest of the year, students have had to complete their work online. There are positives and negatives, advantages and disadvantages to online learning, but nonetheless, it has to be done.
“A time to laugh, a time to weep.” Some students were over the moon when they heard about school closing for the rest of the year, while some, were not.
“The coronavirus has taken away probably the best part of senior year,” senior executive council president, Emma Hively said.
Students face difficulties with completing their assignments because it is easier to get distracted and it can be hard to manage their time.
“I think online school does allow a lot of people to procrastinate and not do their work to the fullest,” freshman Dani Graham said. “Therefore they aren’t getting the full benefit.”
Another disadvantage is that class discussions are hard to have digitally, so students aren’t getting the full potential they can of learning. Cheating is also easier with online school because it is easier in the student’s head.
“It is harder to have online discussions because it is harder to focus,” junior Austin Wilbur said. “Thus making kids just wanting to get answers from friends, so they can just move on.”
Teachers also face difficulties, especially if they teach hands-on classes like art, music performance, and technology education. When the face-to-face aspect of learning is taken away, it can be hard for students to learn. For the senior high orchestra, that means adapting from being a performance-based group.
“The goal is to perform for people but that might not be happening,” said junior and senior high orchestra director Miss Elly Cope. “So, the goal is to get [the orchestra] to realize the benefit of performing and to grow from performing for people.”
A disadvantage for seniors is that the rest of their senior year is not happening for them. In-person graduation was officially canceled for the senior class, and many of the seniors were sad about this.
“Senior year is often idealized and is supposed to be the best year,” Hively said. “But many of the most exciting parts are now in question.”
“A time to gain, a time to lose.” There are many disadvantages to online school, but to stay positive people should look at the advantages.
Although it is difficult to teach the orchestra online, not being able to perform allows Miss Cope to focus on some other aspects of music.
“Every day we’re so focused on performing and getting ready for a concert and we might not be doing that now,” said Miss Cope. “So instead, we can talk about the theoretical points of music and the technical parts.”
This allows for students to study things like a key signature, and to really focus on their playing technique. Not being able to perform give the students time to learn about the emotional parts of the music and all the components they do mentally and physically that go into playing.
Another advantage that students have is that they can create their own schedules for getting their online work done. This prepares students for college because they have to find time to do their assignments and can complete them at their own pace.
“I believe online school is good for the students because they are able to do the work when they want,” Junior Austin Wilbur said. “And they have an increased amount of freedom.”
Teachers have been trying to figure out a way to make the transition easiest for themselves and the students. Teachers have to make their lesson plans online and try to help students with everything they need.
“The transition hasn’t been the easiest for me,” Hively said. “But thankfully my teachers are being reasonable in the amount of work they give.”
“A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the worst in people, and the best. It is hard for teachers and students to transition to online school. But, looking at the positives in the situations will bring peace to a silent war that we are all fighting.
“It is very disheartening and seems very unfair,” Hively said. “But we are lucky to have an administration that is aware of our situation and is working to give us as much normalcy as possible.”