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Reflections on Online Schooling: The Good, The Bad, The Potential

It may be summer, but all anyone is talking about is school. As families brace themselves for the likelihood of more virtual learning this fall, it’s helpful to reflect on this past spring in order to be as prepared as possible for what lies ahed. Here, a parent and a student discuss their experience learning from home, and our expert, Dr. Tori Cordiano, shares her view on how students and families can prepare for the coming year.

PARENT | Anonymous

My son has his own space in our house and manages his time better than we adults do, but the biggest struggle he had adjusting to online schooling was time management. He had a big workload and preferred face to FaceTime with teachers and friends. I personally don’t like online schooling because I feel the students need one on one contact with others.

We definitely annoy him more now. Spending more time at home let him see all of our flaws and failings. We aren’t on the pedestal anymore, and we have a more transparent relationship that normally comes once children have reached college, but the process was sped up by being with each other 24/7.

STUDENT | Anonymous

The biggest transition going from in-person to online instruction was figuring out how to get help with my school work. If I ever needed help, I had to schedule it, since I was not able to go up to a teacher and ask. Sometimes they were not able to fully help because the Zoom format was not conducive.

The biggest struggle to adjusting to online school was not having the extracurricular activities, in my case band. We had no one to play music with, no new music, and no instruction.

Although I disliked online schooling, it made me appreciate my education more.

The fact that our teachers care so much about us and want the best for us really touched me—no matter what they were going through on the side, we were more important.

Balancing school with the increased family time was quite hard for me. I had a lot of extra demands in my life that I did not normally have, such as increased hours at my part-time job and more schoolwork, and my family expected me to be done with school by 4 pm when I had gotten off of work just a few hours before that and I still had a lot more to do.

Online schooling negatively affected my attitude towards my family. I feel bad saying that, but after a little bit, I did not want to spend time with them anymore. At the same time, it has made me closer to my family than I used to be. It has made me realize I hardly knew who they ever were. I talk to them a lot more than I used to, and I am more open to tell them things without fear that they will judge me.

I feel like quarantine deepened my life.

I had more time to be by myself. I would say I am an entirely different and better person today than I was a few months ago. It was a massive period to just slow down and get my life straightened out.

I liked online schooling in some ways, but in a lot of other ways, I hated it. I want schooling to go back to the way it was and wish this had never happened, but it has made me into a better person. I am more independent, more disciplined, and more aware of just how much I typically do in a day.

EXPERT | Dr. Tori Cordiano, Clinical Psychologist

Schools have realized that online schooling is a good way for people to learn. As schools apply what they have learned, the quality and caliber of education offered online will improve, and the learning will become deeper and more meaningful.

Throughout this period, schools have become more creative and innovative as they determine how to navigate online learning. The biggest thing that schools will need to improve upon is finding new ways to encourage students and connect with them that will leverage student engagement.

Many schools are unsure about the future of in-person schooling and won’t announce anything until late summer. The best preparation for families: focus on what you do have control over; cultivate an acceptance of what is out of your control; try to find ways to be comfortable with the uncertainty of the future.

Maryann Veyon is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Chemical Engineering.  She is passionate about music, writing, and energy sustainability.

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