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Distance Learning in Action: A Grade 11 Student Perspective

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“Right after I inserted this photo, I had to attend a zoom class, and the first thing my teacher asked was “What’s on your head? Why do you have bunny ears?”

A lot of things have changed in my everyday life due to Distance Learning. I’ve had to find a new routine that has changed when I wake up, when I eat, and when I work on homework (even though now, all work is homework). One thing that I definitely enjoy is the amount of sleep I can get. With about an hour and half in total (transportation to and from school) being shaved off my day, I have more time to sleep in, and start working on assignments the moment school ends which means that I have more time in the evenings to just relax (despite the global pandemic…’s the small things in life:-)). 

Video conferencing though is hard. Despite the fact that all teachers are requiring us to turn on our video settings for at least a fraction of the class, none of my teachers require our cameras to be on the entire time. The moment we get the permission to turn off our cameras, I’ll admit, I turn it off. Nobody needs to see the island-themed painted walls of my room (from when I was 10 years old) more than necessary. And no, I can’t find a spot in my room where the paint isn’t visible. My current best spot is my bed where the only design you can see in the background is a whale tail, but even from there, my position makes it look   like I have something weird sticking out of my head. Sometimes I just have to admit defeat though and use a virtual background. 

The amount of focus required for video conferencing is a lot, which I think many people struggle with. We’re all on our laptops with endless amounts of distractions available. It’s definitely a learning curve for everyone. 

Every even day in my schedule (Day 2, 4, 6, etc…) I have to be very good at my time management, since only 2 of my classes zoom, and even then, it’s only a 5 minute check in. It’s days like these when I miss all the social interaction with my peers, and sometimes I’ll hang on for a few minutes after everyone has left a session just to chat with my teacher.  

There is definitely a massive benefit to zoom for me though. My HL IB Music class, which consists of only one other student in my grade, and the rest being seniors, has been able to split our zoom sessions. This means that my teacher has been able to give us a level of help and attention that was previously hard in the past months b.c. (Before Corona). I have definitely seen an improvement in my understanding of what we’re currently learning in class which is for sure, a positive note (pun not intended) in this time of learning. 

I think that I can safely say that many of us, as juniors, have a small fear in the back of our minds about when all of this will go back to normal. The seniors have all had their exams cancelled, and now are probably wondering if they’ll ever get to walk down the HS hallways with their friends again before they graduate. Prom has been postponed, but who knows if it will still happen. In a time like this, it’s really the small things in life that I’ve learned to appreciate so that I don’t go down the rabbit hole of worry and anxiety. Taking walks (with my dog Tucker) has given me the opportunity to appreciate nature so much more than when I was able to go outside all the time. Facetiming friends who put in the extra effort just to be able to chat and check in with me has really made me see certain people in a whole new light. I’ve even gotten to talking more with peers that I didn’t usually talk with. We’re all just that desperate:-)

Anyhoo, hope life’s treating everyone as well as currently possible and stay safe!