After being required to stay online for a few months, I decided to go in person for the first time this year. I had experienced many emotions, the main one being fear. Was it safe? Would it satisfy my learning needs? Would I enjoy the extreme social interactions? Everything was a big question mark. Despite the anxiousness that I obtained, I decided to take a leap of faith and attend in person school. I had a blast! Social distancing was in order and mask wearing was a must. Yes, it was a different approach to the normal high school experience, but it was so exhilarating to experience something mildly similar to it. I had a nice time at lunch where I ate and spoke with some of my closest friends. I was genuinely curious about what they thought of online learning compared to in person learning, so I asked them, “What aspects of in person learning enhance your school experience?”, and this is what they said.
Charles Howard, an outstanding leader and learner at the IA explains that he is content to be back at school. Howard is a social sophomore, who has strong connections with his teachers and classmates. He is a class officer that likes to check up on his fellow classmates and thrives in social environments. For Charles, the school environment is a positive one. It adds value to his day, whether he is chatting with a teacher after class or laughing with a few friends during lunch. Either way, Charles is a bright student who enjoys spending his time helping and having fun with others. Charles is glad to be back and take a “lead” on maintaining his connections.
Liv Serio, a wonderful, passionate, outspoken learner who depends on discussion in the classroom, finds success in, in person learning. Serio misses leading class discussions and using her voice in class because virtually, it is near impossible. Liv finds the balance in hybrid learning by securing her quiet reading time at home, and discussing the interesting topics covered in class for the rest of the week. Liv appreciates the connections she obtains with her teachers substantially. In person, Liv can not only take charge on facilitating small talk with teachers, she is also able to maintain deep conversations with them about her passions. After going in person, Liv can stop “debating” her educational value.
Legacy Henry, an active and curious learner, finds a more enriching learning experience when in person. Legacy feels that moving during the day enhances his attentiveness and allows him to be a stronger learner. Henry is an inquirer. It can be challenging for him to stay curious when the lesson is on a computer screen. Being in person and present during the long hours of the day, creates more of an excitement to everyday lessons. Legacy says that moving around stimulates his brain to feeling more interested in the lesson, no matter what he is learning. During lunch, Henry can play football outside with a few friends which allows for a mental “break” and an improved rest of the day. When he is home learning, this is not an activity he can partake in. Legacy is an outstanding student who likes to take “action” in his learning experience.
After interviewing with a few of my classmates, I have come to the realization that in person learning isn’t for everyone, but does satisfy a large group of students. My fears of in person schooling have been alleviated, as now I see the many benefits that lacked in my initial thoughts. Students are now able to make the choice and “show up” for their learning experience.