From the very first minute of the day, School this year is radically different from last year.
Last year, I would just get out of bed a few minutes before school started since there was no travel time. Sometimes I would eat my breakfast or have a snack. This year, I have to wake up at 6:30 instead of 8:30, I get out of bed, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, and leave the house. Take the bus. Take the subway. Walk to school.
Like many teenagers, I liked being able to wake up at a later time because of the lack of commuting, Not having to travel the 40 minutes from school to my house, I had more time to do my homework since I was at home all day. It was much easier to manage my time since I didn’t have any after school activities that I had to get to, because they were all online. Although, I do think online school affected my quality of work, since it tired me out more.
When you compare these two morning routines, , it may seem like I liked virtual learning better than in person school, but that is not true. Despite all the aspects I did like about doing school at home, being able to see my classmates in person is better.
Things have changed in our classes, too. . Last year was an exception from everything I was used to. It’s not usually just the teacher talking to you. There’s students waiting to ask or answer questions. The teacher isn’t just talking to you, now the classes are interactive again. Also, in breakout rooms there was usually minimal talking, now that we can see each other again face to face, it’s much easier to communicate in groups. This makes it easier to complete group assignments.
It was harder to focus in class last year, because all you would hear was the teacher’s voice. This year, you can do activities with your classmates that may help you better understand the topic. That learning environment of just hearing lectures and finishing your assignments was not the best for me, and I know I am not the only one with this opinion. I remember I would talk to my friends about shared experiences in break out rooms. Also having a sense of relief when you knew someone in your breakout room, and that it meant they would actually talk.
I am so glad that this year we got to go to the building this year and have the closest to normal we possibly could this year.
The biggest benefit to in-person school is communication. It’s not just being able to work in teams and talk to people, but also having spaces to just relax around the building while you’re not in class helps immensely. While at home, you don’t have places to just hang out.
I will take the social connections over sleeping late, any day.
This year is a lot better than last year and I hope it can continue being an in person school year!