Originally published in La Plaza Press
By MIA ARANDA
If a historian were to one day indulge in the thickest textbook of them all, that being of the never-ending year 2020, a large portion of the content would probably be dedicated to the new dimension of distance learning and Zoom.
The transition to distance learning was quite stressful for students having to attend multiple classes via Zoom every day while channeling their full attention to learning new content in front of a screen. Possible distractions arise at home, such as phone notifications, family members, or outside noise. For many students and teachers, Internet issues have also proven to be a struggle in learning.
Redlands East Valley freshman Vincent Hernandez said, “When I was joining my class, I got kicked [out] more than four times because of my WiFi.”
“One of my teachers got kicked out of their own class for like five minutes,” said REV senior Donecia Campos.
Without having the social aspect of school, it is understandable that students feel out of the loop or unengaged sometimes in class. Teachers have attempted to revive the social aspect of school by forming breakout rooms in their classes, a Zoom feature that enables the teacher to put their students in groups separate from the main Zoom meeting. These breakout rooms are generally used for discussion or collaboration for an assignment. However, oftentimes students feel the Zoom breakout rooms are too awkward when they’re with fellow peers they aren’t close with.
“Some people in my breakout room were actually talking instead of being on mute the whole time and not getting any work done,” Citrus Valley freshman Aiyanah Johnson said. “That’s really relieving because breakout rooms can be very awkward.”
Amidst the difficulties of distance learning, it is somewhat alleviating to know that most teachers form a camaraderie with their students over common struggles.
REV sophomore Faith Morales said, “I was drinking coffee in one of my classes and my teacher called me out saying she needs her coffee too in the mornings to keep her going.”
Alexander Marquis, a REV sophomore, said a common student phrase he hears is, “Teacher, you’re on mute.”
In particular, students notice that teachers struggle with forming connections with their students and getting them to participate through a screen.
Citrus Valley High school freshman Joel Barbee said the most common phrase he has heard a teacher say in class during distance learning was “Please turn on your cameras, guys.”
“A funny moment from distance learning this year is that teachers are just as confused as the students. The mishaps are pretty funny,” said CV freshman Haley Bond.
For students, many funny class moments revolve around not realizing their microphones were on during class.
Barbee said, “I was on FaceTime with my friend and I forgot I had my mic on.”
“I didn’t mute myself and I was screaming,” said REV junior Alex Miller.
Nonetheless, some students have been able to reap the benefits of having to do distance learning via Zoom. For example, a regular school day at Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley, and Redlands High School would last from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but distance learning prompted the schedule to be modified to 8:30 a.m. to 2:12 p.m. allowing for a later start time and slightly earlier end time.
REV freshman Lauren Amaro said, “I enjoy that I can wake up later than I usually would for school.”
Likewise, REV freshman Mia Uribe said, “You can go to school right when you wake up. You don’t have to wake up early.”
Redlands High School junior Isabelle Verjat said, “I like that I don’t have to put on shoes and can sit however I want to. I also enjoy that my dog is around me pretty much all day.”
In response to something she enjoys about distance learning, REV junior Ella Fletcher said, “Not having to waste travel time? Wait no, being able to have my pets around 24/7.”
“We can eat during class and wear our pajamas,” said REV junior Ali Sirk-Bun.
Redlands High School junior Paul McClure said, “I can make my own lunch. It has been really enjoyable to cook up a good meal every day.”
REV freshman Arron Gomez said, “I brought my computer to the kitchen and made nachos.”
Bailey Bohannnon, REV junior, said, “[I] can sleep in between classes and I could literally take a shower during lunch if I really wanted to.”
Digital artwork, made with the app ibisPaintX, depicts the realities of distance learning. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)
As students head into the winter season, the distance learning chapter continues.