Schooling Digitally

Schooling+Digitally

Leila Hogan, Writer

When COVID-19 hit its peak in March all MCPS schools went into lockdown for the rest of the year. Little did we all know that this virus didn’t stop in time for the new school year. Both students and teachers had to adjust and find new ways to get things done. Online schooling is different. It has its pros and cons. Some people will like it better than others.

“I like in-person better because I get the real life interaction with people and more out of learning,” sophomore Natalie Shelton said. Online schooling hasn’t done well for some students.

“I definitely prefer in-person schooling because it gave me more motivation to do my work. With online schooling I don’t feel like I’m learning anything and find it very hard to find motivation to work,” senior Hanat Akanbi said. Learning and working for students during this new experience has been a struggle. 

“I personally think that they did not have enough time to clearly come up with the new curriculum and it is evident. We are getting so much work but not enough time because we have so much to learn.” junior Isatu Kallay said. 

“I definitely am learning worse this way because of my ADHD, it was already difficult for me to learn in school and now I’m in my own house with no real way to stop myself from not taking it seriously,” Akanbi said. Although school is online and the grading, working is the same, the experience isn’t. 

“I don’t think it’s the same experience and it’s a lot more detached, but at least it’s something and I can still go to classes,” Shelton said. 

“I do not think online schooling gives the same experience as in-person school. This is because online school is not very interactive,” Kallay said. Teachers as well experience trouble with this new system. Teachers feel isolated with online schooling. 

“The personal connections and interactions with students is the thing that I miss most,” English teacher Tracy Sorfi said. This is a disadvantage, there are some advantages to online schooling.

“I think virtual teaching can make you a better teacher when it comes to using technology. It has made me look for apps and assignments that take advantage of the tablets that the students have,’ History teacher Mark Whitley said. It is much more time consuming than in-person schooling. You still have to keep students interested on top of it.

“It is essentially preparing a seamless presentation that contains the right content to cover the right standards with a variety of platforms, apps, and other web tools AND is appealing enough for students that they continue to fully engage even though they know they don’t absolutely have to,” Sorfi said. Some teachers think that online schooling is better for efficiency.

“All of the assignments, class lessons, power points, etc, are online and available to the students 24/7 which is an advantage to the students. They always have access to this material and if they miss a class, they can watch the Zoom recording and find the work they missed in the appropriate folder,” Whitley said. The way teaching and working has changed. 

“I’ve had to cut down on the material and activities that can be done due to having far less time with students in class. Also, I have to constantly try to find ways to get students to interact with the lesson; this is difficult” Sorfi said. 

“I have to recreate everything I have already built for my classes. I only have each class online for 110 minutes a week. We usually have 88-90 minute classes at least twice a week so I have to take what I had and make it fit into a smaller time frame. I feel like I work harder now than I have in the past because I have to adjust the content and how I teach it to fit in the smaller (time wise) classes,” Whitley said. The struggles for the teachers have been evident, but also give an advantage for personal lives.

“It’s the first time in 27 years of teaching that I feel a much healthier work-life balance–there is time for exercise, cooking, spending time with my family,” Sorfi said.