Well, 2020 has been a year full of surprises, some good and some bad. It’s been roughly three weeks since the district shifted to virtual learning, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to come back to school. Although staying in your pjs and hanging out in the comfort of your home is nice, I miss seeing my friends and having actual contact with people. As of right now, we are set to come back on January 11th, but that might change. We will have to wait until the school board meeting that is scheduled for January 5.
In order to stay in the present, I interviewed some of the students at BAMS to see how they like virtual education.
Addy Turek, Grade 8
Q.) What are some challenges that virtual learning has created for you?
A.) Some challenges that virtual has caused are looking at a screen all day. It’s very challenging to my head and eyes, and it is very difficult to stay on task with so many distractions in my house. It is very stressful having to remember all the stuff we have to do, and having our cameras on is also very challenging because in 8th grade, you’re insecure and having to turn your camera on in front of your whole class is very stressful.
Q.) Do you like virtual better than in person?
A.) I like some aspects of virtual better than in person but overall no.
Q.) If you had to pick one or more good things that have come out of 2020, what would it/they be?
A.) If I had to pick a few good things that have come from 2020, they would be that I got to spend a little bit of my last year of middle school in school, I got to play my volleyball season.
Macy Cherry, Grade 8
Q.) What are some advantages and disadvantages of virtual learning?
A.) Advantages are that I can probably sleep in and I get to spend my free time however I want. Disadvantages are not seeing my friends, some classes are hard to learn on an iPad, and it’s also harder to pay attention when you’re at home with so many distractions.
Q.) What do you miss most about being in school?
A.) I miss the learning environment with my friends and eating lunch with my friends.
Q.) If you could go back in time to 2019, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you give?
A.) Not to worry about grades as much as I did.
Lily McNelis, Grade 7
Q.) Out of all the school experiences you’ve missed out due to virtual learning, which has been the worst?
A.) Not getting to see my friends has definitely been the worst.
Q.) Did going virtual affect any of your sports?
A.) Going virtual didn’t affect any of my school-affiliated sports, but Governor Wolfe’s new restrictions have put a pause on my club volleyball practices.
Q.) How are you staying positive during this hard time?
A.) I’m trying to keep in touch with my friends more often than usual to stay more positive.
Q.) Do you think we should have to keep our cameras on during virtual learning? Why or why not?
A.) I think we should be allowed to have our cameras off as long as the teachers are checking in and having us interact during class to make sure everyone is paying attention.
I honestly think Addy brought up a great point when she mentioned the insecurities of being on camera during virtual learning. Even though students may not be visible during class meetings, the stress can be unbelievable for some. Thinking about whether or not you have a hair out of place or if your skin isn’t perfect enough can create anxiety for teenagers. In a society that judges people every day, I think being in the comfort of your own home should be a safe space.
Although all these students have brought up different ideas, I think we can come to the conclusion that only a handful of us like to be virtual and in quarantine. I hope you and your family are staying safe. Don’t forget to wash your hands—and read more articles on the BA Blueprint!