Distance learning: should we have waited?

Bennett Rothman, Staff writer

As summer came to a close, students, teachers and parents waited to hear how schools would open with the ongoing pandemic. In the spring semester of 2020, online learning was thrown at teachers and students and many of them were unable to fully adjust. While teachers were doing the best that they could, there was not enough experience or enthusiasm due to the pass/fail system to keep students interested in their classes. This was the problem to tackle this fall, so, are students back to their hard work? Not really.

Seventy-two percent of students had concerns about their academic standing, and sixty-six percent of high school educators said they did not receive enough training according to two separate surveys by Educators for Excellence. Students have had hard times focusing on classes in their homes and have had an even harder time keeping up with what many say is an excessive workload. 


“I literally do not feel like I have learned or otherwise absorbed any knowledge this year” senior Trevor Gonzalez said. “It’s ridiculous we just had to get up immediately and be good at this”. 


Teachers shared frustrations as well, with many wishing they had more time to train with Canvas. “I don’t believe there was very good planning at the district level” said AP Biology and Chemistry teacher Juan Fernandez. “We were offered things like two days before school started which is not enough time”. 


Teachers are doing the best they can given the circumstances and have adapted well, but the lack of training at the beginning of this school year led teachers and students alike to be confused and for students especially demotivated. 


Distance learning is difficult to get perfect, and nobody is getting it right anywhere. However, many schools across the country have added much more substantial improvements such as a higher budget for more interactive online work to support their teachers and students. The Connecticut Education Association delayed the opening of their schools, and schools in Georgia moved to a hybrid learning style where those who have a hard time focusing at home such as students with ADHD could attend in person classes. These classes would have a limited number of people in the classroom and all students and the teacher would be 6 feet apart and wearing masks. While many teachers in the district are not in favor of a hybrid learning style, it is still something worth investigating further and consistent training should be common.