Freshmen’s Feelings About Online High School
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people in all age ranges. Teenagers have been especially impacted by this shelter-in-place, specifically those who started high school in the fall of 2020.
Freshman year of high school is hard in and of itself, with transitioning schools, harder classes, and meeting new people. But to drop a whole pandemic on top of it? High school becomes even more challenging. Now, ninth graders are having to adjust to the difficulties of online schooling through Zoom. With bad internet connection, broken microphones and cameras, and other family members dealing with their own Zoom nightmare in the next room over, how much worse could it get?
After sending out a survey to around thirty-five freshmen students, we got some responses about this new way of schooling. When asked about what they looked forward to most in high school, many freshmans replied that they were excited to meet new people and create new experiences with one another. Unfortunately, that couldn’t happen.
Converting to online school has been hard for some and less so for others. Many students were sad and disappointed – unsurprisingly. The pandemic was getting worse and conversion to online schooling was inevitable. In response to this change, George Simpkins quite simply said, “No bueno.”
Other responses were more tolerating. CVCHS student Noah Criado said, “I was not happy but in the beginning I understood that it was necessary.”
On a scale of one to ten, with one being worst, and ten being best, the average number that students rated online school was about five.
CVCHS student, Julian Bruno, who rated Zoom school as a three, said, “I chose a low number because with my experience, I struggled to be attentive in class. Going into a new learning environment is hard enough, so the major change of how school was gonna run made it even harder.”
On the flip side, CVCHS Student, Keelin Johnson rated online school a seven. “Well I do miss in-person school and being able to see my friends,” she said. “But being at home isn't so bad because I get to have my own space.” Keelin also mentioned how she was slightly relieved about online school. “I could get used to the curriculum and like how things work in high school without having the stress of the social interactions.”
Online school has its challenges and its perks. CVCHS Student Abbey Elwood stated, “It is hard focusing on class, and for me it's easier to get ahead on assignments, especially on tutorial days.”
Many others said that it is harder because it’s more difficult to get help from teachers. However, it’s easier because there aren’t as many distractions and people can work at their own pace.
A huge part of high school is its social aspect. For freshmen especially, it’s a big deal. This is the time to find friends and meet new people. Ninth graders didn’t get any of that this year. They haven’t really been given the chance. Even in class, it’s not the same through a screen in a breakout room. They’re missing out on eating lunch together and talking to each other in the hallways between classes to form these bonds and relationships.
Though some students have managed to make some friends through cohort groups, sports, and social media, many feel isolated.
As for the teachers, they’re having a hard time as well. Having to adjust to online teaching isn’t easy. When asked about how they thought the teachers were doing with this new form of education, Ellis Adams replied, “I think it is hard for them. Some of my teachers are doing very well, and I'm understanding the material they're teaching, and is very organized, while some of my teachers aren't organized at all, never respond to emails, and when they do their response is just, “come to tutoring hours,” when the question is just asking if they can put in my grades.”
COVID-19 has changed our lives, whether we like it or not. The responses from students are understandable and many of them speak for the larger community. Online school has been a challenge for everyone, but together, we’ll get through it.