Students and teachers share thoughts on distance learning

Q: Before distance learning officially began, how did you perceive the idea?

A: I had only heard about it from people in Baltimore who had been receiving packets, and [they] had to completely manage their own time and learning, and a friend in Hong Kong who was doing video conferencing and had been doing that for months. I don’t think it fully hit me that we might not go back to school for the rest of the school year, and I didn’t completely understand what format we would be using. I was concerned that our teachers would try to cram as much work onto us as they could, and also doubtful that the school would be able to make a functioning online schedule which could support all of its students. I hoped that we would have some sort of online schedule for the sanity of my family, but at the same time, I didn’t want every hour of every day to be dictated by the district.  -freshman Ada Frederick


Q: When distance learning began, what were your first impressions?

A: I thought that distance learning would help me gain a sense of normal, but everything about online school is different enough from normal school that it backfired. I feel like I’m having to adjust more than I would at the beginning of a new school year. I also thought that I would gain a sense of connection through the class Zoom calls. I think I did for a little bit, but then it wore off as it began to seem less and less real. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that Zoom calls are actually live; they start to feel fake and recorded eventually. At the same time, Zoom calls often house the most meaningful conversations in my day, excluding talking to my family. I’m glad we are doing Zoom calls, but some days, it isn’t enough. -sophomore Zoë Collier

Nora Romman

Q: Do you think online classes are easier or harder than in-person classes?

A: I would say the actual learning is more difficult. I think this is because there’s a lot of distractions, connections can be slow, and there’s a limit to what you learn off of a slideshow. -freshman Avery Holt


Q: Has your opinion about distance learning changed since first impressions? If so, how?

A: I loved being online at first, but I didn’t foresee how much I enjoyed being in an environment full of life and physically being in a class. The life and energy in school is one of the things I enjoy most, and that has yet to be replicated in an online workspace. -sophomore Sean-Karl Dobson

Q: What do you like most about distance learning?

A: I like the lack of busy work that distance learning gives me. I found during in-person classes, I was often given worksheets to complete that I felt didn’t benefit me much, but just added stress to my to-do list. Now the assignments we receive are meaningful because of the limit on them, and if I need more practice, there are optional practices that I can do. I find this to be significantly less stressful and much more efficient in terms of learning information. -junior Siena Welsh


Q: Has distance learning made an impact on your life? If so, how?

A: I find that I really miss having that interaction with the students. I have gotten a lot of things done around the house. I have also been able to get outside more and stay healthy. However, I feel like the grading never stops. -English II Pre-AP teacher Jeff Montgomery 


Q: How would you feel about finishing the school year off with online school?

A: To be honest, it would be a little disappointing. Everyone has worked too hard to not get the closure of finishing. Most of my activities and sports take place in the spring, so it’s sad that I won’t get a chance to wrap those up. Not to mention, if we continue with online school, many kids will miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like prom and graduation for the seniors. But most importantly, it’s just more time I have to spend away from hanging out with my friends, and people I love so much at Westlake. -freshman Jase Bennett 


Q: Extra thoughts about distance learning?

A: It’ll be interesting how distance learning during this pandemic will shape the future of education. I think that it has definitely legitimized online learning to a certain degree. Most educational professionals had skepticism surrounding propositions for online learning in recent years. I think that this has forced us to test something that may be successful in the future. It will be interesting to see what happens. -senior Preston Williams