By Kara Grossman
It is safe to say that even with 20/20 vision going into the new year, no one saw a statewide school closure and virtual learning coming. Among all the other crazy changes everyone must make to their everyday life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most out-of-the-ordinary perhaps is virtual school. Unless you have been homeschooled for some point in your life or have taken an online class, this is an entirely new ball game.
You wake up on March 12 and it’s 6:05 A.M. You probably think about different tests you have that day while getting dressed or eating breakfast. Maybe you’re struggling to work on last minute homework, or you’re making coffee to try and keep yourself awake. Then, you take the bus or drive and eventually arrive at Council Rock High School North. Numerous students constantly file in through the doors with you and make their way to the first period. Then second, followed by third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and lastly ninth. They talk to friends and teachers. They engage in lessons and absorb the material. They may be distracted from lack of sleep, but classmates still laugh and talk throughout the day. And those kids don’t realize the privilege that comes with their everyday routine.
Now, merely a month later, the world for Council Rock students has inverted. They probably wake up several hours later than before and start their work at their leisure. The most-visited apps on their phone are now Canvas and FaceTime. If they are anything like me, they miss their friends and teachers. They miss all the extracurriculars and events that are cancelled. Perhaps even the imposed structure of their day. They feel as though their life has been ripped from under them, and now they must adjust to this new sense of normal. It’s novel, and it’s daunting.
But throughout all these adjustments, one must maintain motivation and provide individual structure. It can be hard to accomplish schoolwork without much guidance. For some, they thrive most when they have explicit directions and in-person, synchronous learning. If students feel lost, they should remember that changes take time, and shifting to completely digital learning is not accomplished overnight.
To get yourself off the ground, maybe start waking up at a uniform time every day. Check Canvas daily or map out one week at a time, and double-check works submitted to not miss assignments. Many additional resources are available, such as teacher’s announcements, virtual clinics, and websites. Your teachers want you to thrive within this virtual atmosphere and have evidently worked hard to quickly adjust lesson plans. If you can maintain motivation and utilize your resources, accomplishing work becomes easier and more familiar each time.
When reflecting on this past month and the rest of the school year ahead, notice how lucky Council Rock students are to have devoted teachers and a resilient school district that made the virtual shift possible. Although stressful at first, one should look at online school as another necessary change in this unprecedented time for not only Pennsylvania, but also the whole country. Staying home is aiding the cause and, maybe with the return of school, we won’t take 7:30 A.M classes for granted again.