Is online school or in-person school better?
Jan 05 2021
For most of my life, I would say this one-worded phrase on special occasions: the first day of school, and the days we had a substitute teacher waltzing into the classroom because our teacher was at jury duty. Now, I find myself saying it seven times a day, every day. Why?
The answer is pretty simple. I do online school. Actually, most students in California are doing online school. With 850,000 COVID-19 cases and rising, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to have school in person for a while. Tech-savvy students and traditional pen-and-paper teachers are now working together on a daily basis to maintain the quality of our learning. While there are pros and cons, many people are yet to adjust. Students and parents protest the district to open schools so we can go back to “normal”, while others are doing perfectly fine, and even have higher grades. So, that leaves an important question: is online or in-person school better?
It depends. Like I mentioned before, there are pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros. First, I don’t have to drive 40 minutes (plus traffic) to get to school everyday and an hour to get back. I also have a much more flexible schedule that gives me hours of free time. As a Junior in high school, all of this “extra time” is quite useful to finish homework, take naps, and participate in my extracurriculars (online, of course). Junior year is supposedly the most difficult, so I value my time and do my best to use it wisely.
Now for cons. My personal biggest issue is the lack of motivation. When I chose my classes in February, I said, “I can do 6 weighted courses. My friends will be there right next to me to help me along the way.” Boy, was I wrong. When the only emotional support I receive is in the form of FaceTime calls and text messages, I start to lose my mind. I miss the feeling of my friends’ warm arms hugging me right before my English presentation, and the nervous hand-holding we do while the teacher is handing back our tests. This is what I miss most about in-person school. Unfortunately, even if my school district allows a hybrid program or a non-remote learning experience, we would never be able to do this, anyway; it’d be too dangerous.
So far, I’ve been speaking from a personal point of view. But, what about a technological point of view? There are both pros and cons within this topic as well! Like before, I’ll start with the pros. With online school, I don’t have to walk from class to class anymore; I type in a 12-digit code and my whole classroom pops up in front of me. It’s incredibly convenient to have something so instant, right? Wrong. This is in no way an instant process. Internet speed isn’t always great on my, nor my teachers’, end. This means it takes at least a few minutes just to join a Zoom call. In addition, not all of my teachers are as technologically gifted as others. Even halfway through the semester, it still takes some of them a while to find the “Share Screen” button. No matter how much the students try to explain, the process usually takes a while, which easily frustrates many students and teachers. I’m sure we’ve all had those teachers that accidentally leave us in the breakout room for an extra 20 minutes. It’s awkward.
Overall, it’s hard to tell whether or not I like online or in-person school more. If I was selfish, I would be manifesting to open schools so I could have some basic human interaction. Online school is difficult, and until we have improvements in technology, it could never be a replacement for in-person school. However, I know we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon). All it takes is one irresponsible person to shut down schools for another year. While I am disappointed that I probably won’t have a Junior Prom, I’d rather skip it if I knew I would be saving lives.