St. Agnes Students Adapt to Remote Learning
The announcement that school would be held online for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year was met with mixed responses from my classmates at St. Agnes Academy. It was clear that our teachers and staff had been busy preparing over the summer to make it as painless as possible, but we missed going to physical school. We all wondered what the year would look like, theorizing over text messages or complaining about having to wait until September to see each other again.
Now that the school year has officially begun, it appears that most of our worries were for naught; however, remote learning has still brought many new challenges and changes from in-person learning, or even the remote learning of spring.
Despite all our original apprehensions surrounding the new school year, remote learning is not a new idea to the students of St. Agnes. When Covid-19 shut down schools last spring, St. Agnes adapted a temporary remote learning plan. The learning was informal, with classes meeting over Zoom maybe once a week, twice at the absolute most. Our assignments were posted online with a deadline, and some of our classes cancelled tests and quizzes altogether. Most of us spent all day in pajamas and slept in when we did not have an early Zoom class. The spring plan was rough in comparison to the current fall plan, and many changes were made over the summer.
With the summer to address and fix the remote leaning drawbacks, St. Agnes made quite a few adjustments for the current school year. The new handbook now includes rules about a remote learning dress code, attendance to zoom calls, and many other similar problems that arose during the spring. The school now follows the Black and Gold schedule each week, which means that each class meets twice a week over Zoom for 75 minutes. Students have Wednesdays free for asynchronous learning, which is where we might do homework, study for a quiz, or attend office hours over Zoom. Teachers are clearly more prepared to present their curriculum over Zoom and other online media, and students know more or less what to expect from this new version of school.
Once students finally get settled into learning from home, the new environment inally, being at home all days presents unique distractions and new challenges; we might find ourselves on Instagram or Snapchat or spending time with pets instead of focusing on work. Students with siblings must work around different schedules, or else find a less-frequented spot in the house. Additionally, in large families where everybody has online responsibilities, the bandwidth becomes strained and may cause connectivity issues. Some students, or even teachers, have been kicked out of Zooms due to internet problems.
Of course, St. Agnes students and teachers are nothing if not adaptable, and very quickly we learned to take these new challenges in stride. Teachers have learned to be understanding if a student gets kicked off of Zoom due to lack of internet connectivity, and students in turn have learned to quickly get back in on their phone using cellular data or with a hotspot if the problems persist. With the new distractions that come with being home come the students and teachers alike creating new organizational strategies.
Personally, I actually find it a little easier to keep on top of my work because I am now able to keep a unified list of assignments next to me all day, and add to it whenever a new one is mentioned. My friend and fellow junior Noel Cardenas (‘22) agrees that remote learning is not ideal, but St. Agnes has truly made the best of the situation. Noel says, "Even though in person learning has its social and ease of access advantages, I think the Zoom meetings and office hours reflect those advantages as best as they can within this situation." All in all, remote learning has its drawbacks, but St. Agnes and countless other Houston high schools are more than ready to overcome them.
Remote learning might bring unique challenges, but St. Agnes, along with other schools in the Houston area, have proved that they are ready to take it on. The situation is far from ideal, and there was no previous solution to fall back on, which forced the schools to create a new way of learning almost out of nothing. Despite this, the schools were ready to make sure students could keep learning through the quarantine. The students, although disappointed we could not return to physical school for the start of first semester, are relived that we are able to keep learning throughout the pandemic. Until we are finally able to return to campus, students and teachers alike will keep working to maintain a sense of normalcy within our new routine.
Want more buzz like this? Sign up for our Morning Buzz emails.
To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.