Last updated on November 19, 2020
Quarantine has drastically changed all our lives. Whether it’s seeing your friends less, not traveling as much, or wearing a mask every time you leave the house, we’re all feeling the effects of this pandemic in our own lives. Our social bubbles have been constricted, and especially now that we’ve returned to school virtually without much insight into when we might be going back, it can be said that all of our lives are feeling very chaotic. This fall, entering the school year completely online, Northwest changed our schedules since last spring. Our school days and classes have been lengthened, so we spend more time on zoom each day. There’s now a daily advisory check-in at the beginning of every school day before classes start, and the layout of our schedules have changed so we have the same classes two days in a row, alternating every week which classes we have on Wednesdays. The switch from in-person to online school was a difficult adjustment and to show how online school has shifted our lives, this article showcases a Northwest School sophomore’s day and includes helpful tips for students on how to stay productive during remote learning.
Northwest student’s daily schedule:
8:00 am – wake up and get ready for the day
9:00-9:10 – Advisory
Northwest added a daily advisory check-in to our schedules this year, to give us more of a chance to connect with each other remotely. Some advisors use this time to have a moment of peace, share gratitude, have work time before school starts, or check in with their advisees to see how they’re doing.
9:15-10:10 – 1st class (Humanities)
Humanities is often a class filled with back and forth discussions, interactive presentations, and group collaboration. While being online removes the direct human interaction from this class, many teachers have taken the opportunity to experiment with online collaboration. They’re using tools like breakout rooms and collaborative google docs to still have somewhat of a classroom experience.
10:25-11:20 – 2nd class (Arts)
Remote learning has forced the art teachers at Northwest to get creative with how they engage in class. Randy Silvers, the ceramics teacher at Northwest says, “I miss the clay play interest group chaos, vexing puzzles, laughter, creativity, irreverence, music, hopefulness, and satisfaction that comes from working with clay and making objects you can really use, and really be proud of.” But he also says that remote learning has given him a unique experience to branch out in his classes “During Covid, I’ve been teaching without the restrictions of working with a single medium (clay), we’ve been able to cover a huge amount of territory: from exploring artwork that reflects individual identity to experiencing art while pondering National Hispanic Heritage Month.” Seeing what Randy’s ceramics class will have accomplished at the end of the trimester will be incredibly interesting, as well as the rest of the art classes at Northwest.
11:20-12:15 – Lunch
Lunch is a nice time to grab something to eat and either take a break from the computer or get started on homework. While sitting alone at your own house during lunch can certainly make you miss the chaos of the Northwest lunchroom, we’ve had a nice 5-month break from all the noise.
12:15-1:10 – 3rd class (Science)
Science class is also challenging to do online, with it being a very hands-on class. This year Northwest decided to send out science kits to students, containing any tools and materials they’ll need for their class. With this, it’s possible to do experiments and projects at home. For kinesthetic (hands-on) learners struggling with doing school remotely, this is a big improvement to their experience online.
1:25-2:20 – 4th class (Language)
Language is another class where the in-person conversation is vital to a well-rounded learning experience. Language isn’t just learning and conjugating words, it’s using those skills in interactions with others. Language teachers have held on to this aspect of learning as best they can by asking questions and keeping the class engaged with activities.
Tips and tricks for school
Both in-class and asynchronous work has become harder to engage with whether it’s because of pandemic fatigue, increased distractions, or just less motivation. Many students have developed tips or tricks for getting work done more efficiently. Some popular strategies are to take notes during class to help you stay focused on what you’re learning, and so that you have the key information you can come back to when you’re studying or doing homework. Keeping an organized planner or to-do list for yourself can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed with work. Outlining what you need to do and when makes it much easier to get on top of assignments. Once you’re done with an assignment, you can reward yourself with something nice. This will keep you motivated to do your work, if you’re pushing towards a goal like an episode of your favorite tv show or something sweet to eat, it can make you want to do your work even if you’re not interested in the class. Tips specific to online school are to find a quiet spot in your house to do your work. Maybe that’s your bedroom, office space in your house, or possibly even the kitchen table. Decorating and keeping that space organized can help you feel more like you’re in a workspace instead of just your house. Next is to treat online school like real school. As simple and self-explanatory as this sounds, it can be really easy to put off assignments or skip out on classwork because it’s all remote. While it may be easy at the moment, eventually it will catch up with you. Another way to make online school feel more ‘real’ is to get out of bed, get dressed, and get ready for school like you would if we were in person. Given, you most likely don’t have to wake up as early, it’s nice to give yourself some normalcy and time to wake up before classes start. You probably hear this next one all the time but taking breaks from your computer during the day is so important. Looking at the blue light of your screen for the whole day will fry your brain and make it nearly impossible for you to get any work done after the school’s over. You should be getting up from wherever you’re working and looking out a window, if not actually going outside, at least every 30 minutes.
Remote learning is difficult, and this pandemic has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us. There are a number of challenges we’re being faced with right now, but we must hold onto hope that things will be back to normal soon. And once we’re all back in the classroom together, I’m sure we will be 10x more grateful for the community we’re a part of here at Northwest.