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With Larry Ferlazzo

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Teaching Opinion

Student: Online Learning Is ‘Stressful and Irritating’

By Larry Ferlazzo — May 07, 2020 6 min read
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(This is the third post in a multipart series. You can see Part One here and Part Two here.)

Here is the new question-of-the-week:

What has your online learning experience been as a student? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? How does it compare with your experience as a student in a physical classroom? In the future, if you could choose, would you want to do more online learning? If so, why? If not, why not?

In Part One, five students from the high school where I teach in Sacramento, Calif., shared their reflections.

In Part Two, contributions come from students in Austin Green’s 1st grade class in Utah and others connected with the Kansas State School for the Blind.

Today, contributors come from my class; Ryan Jakacki’s class in Plymouth, Minn.; and Anne Magnin’s class in France.

“Stressful and irritating”

Ka’La Lawson is a junior at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif.

My online learning experience as a student has been very stressful and irritating. I honestly feel like I’m not learning anything—just getting assignments back-to-back. The only thing I like about this is that I can be home and I can choose when I want to do the work. I don’t like the fact that I’m not learning anything—just watching YouTube videos and trying to figure out what I’m doing and if it’s correct. In the future if I would not choose to do online learning because I generally hate it and it’s just adding more stress on me than I already have, plus if I have a question about something I have to wait for my teacher to respond. And sometimes that response won’t happen until the next day when I could have just finished the assignment the same day I was doing it. I also prefer to be in a physical classroom because I can also get help from my peers if I need it and if it’s online no one is really going to help me at all.

Teachers “pile up work”

Savanah Tomasko is an 8th grader at Plymouth Middle School in Plymouth, Minn.:

Online school has been harder than I thought it was. In the first few weeks, it seemed pretty easy. But eventually, the teachers stopped thinking about how stressful it can get when they pile up work. The only thing I like about online learning is that we get to stay in our beds and go at our own pace. I don’t like that teachers think that we have so much time to do all their work in one day and still have a life. I get to socialize in normal school and see my friends in the day. Although, in online school, we have to just focus on work and not socializing. It would be so cool if, in the future, we had an option to one day do online school and the next, go to school. For example, if you’re really not looking forward to going to school one day, you could just call the school and say that you’re doing it online. I wish the teachers were more understanding but I also get the frustration about kids not doing their work.”

A “quite good” experience

Axel Gardas is a sophomore at Lycée Marcelin Berthelot in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France:

My online learning experience has been quite good. I have a quiet room to work in, a laptop at my disposal and teachers that don’t send a huge amount of homework. So, there is worse. Still, there are some positive and negative points.

First, the pros: I really like waking up later and not being in a rush. It’s a lot less stressful and leaves me time to do sport and take a healthy breakfast.

For the cons, even though my teachers do everything they can in this situation, I feel like we are learning less and in a way that is not the best. I think it is crucial for students to have a teacher in front of them. They explain with their own words and not only with a written lesson, which allows us to understand better. We can ask them questions at any moment, and they can correct us easily. It allows us to really practice and learn the lesson we are working on. Without this direct contact, we have more difficulties to learn and need more time to do so.

I personally, and like a lot of students I think, prefer going in a physical class. Of course, the pressure is higher, we must wake-up earlier in the morning and our days are more exhausting; but at least, we can see our friends and most important, see our teachers in person. Although I wouldn’t be against a few days in the month with online courses. We would feel more relaxed and less stressed. If we can still go out to see our friends or just take some air, not like now...

“A very nice adventure”

Isako Kikkawa is a 16-year-old student at Marcelin Berthelot High School in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés in France:

My online learning experience has been a very nice adventure. I have so much liked it because I was able to study alone in my room. Nobody annoys me and I can focus on my homework.

But it has been a bit complicated : online learning requires a good organization. I was panicky a little bit and surely the others too. In addition, you must always be in front of the computer. So, when I had finished all my homework, my back was hurting me.

I think this system is nice, but I prefer the school where you can see your friends and study together. Furthermore, in the classroom, it is easier to ask questions and it is more understandable. So, in the future, if I could choose, I don’t want to do more online learning. I would like to go to school.

Thanks to Ka’La, Savanah, Axel, and Isako for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at lferlazzo@epe.org. When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

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