What has arguably been the most challenging semester of school has finally ended for most students in Los Angeles. Normally, students would be excited for winter break, however, this year has not only taken away the excitement students used to have from staying at home, but also has brought forth its own set of problems. It is because of this that I began to reflect on one particular question: what has made online school this semester problematic?
Before entering the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, our school had a pretty robust plan to prepare for challenges. New programs were implemented to check in on students’ mental health and even mandated office hours just in case we were behind on schoolwork. However, after several months, students, teachers, and administrators all realized these challenges still remained. Despite encouraging students to receive assistance through office hours, teachers saw many struggle through this journey of online school. As a result of the pandemic, our school specifically had less than half of its normal instructional time, if not less, while the content of our curriculums changed very little. Thus, I felt like my teachers had to rush through these teachings to make sure we were learning, unintentionally leaving some of us behind.
What made things more challenging was that assessments, which have the purpose of evaluating a student’s understanding of a subject, are normally ineffective when taken at home due to the fact that many students are able to look up information online during quizzes and tests. This discourages them from actively learning the information needed to succeed in the course, a phenomenon I saw with many people during this time.
I came to the conclusion that the reason why learning from online resources was not as effective was not because I didn’t get to see my friends and I didn’t have the same social interactions. The main issue came from the fact that our teachers couldn’t do their jobs as efficiently, nor could they make sure that we were learning all the material we needed to master the subject. I’m sure this fact made all our teachers quite upset, as they already had problems before distance learning. Teachers have put in much effort to teach us despite these difficult times, andI would like to say thank you to all out there who taught us during the pandemic. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but you still managed to do it for a whole semester.