An Untraditional Start to Senior Year
There’s something about firsts that make a thrill run down students’ spines - the first day of senior year, the first time driving to school, or the first-day big assessment. This year, all of those firsts didn’t look the same.
For seniors at The Village School, the firsts of their senior year weren’t what they had imagined.
“This time last year, I was looking forward to my senior year and all the experiences I’d be having for the last time with all my classmates," said senior Duaa Naveed. “Starting off my senior year online definitely isn’t what I expected; it’s such a unique experience, but I’m sure that we’ll find some way to 'live it to the max' in these times."
After the first two weeks of school, students were given the option to return to school or stay virtual for about 6sixweeks. While a few students decided to return to school, like Zarek Merchant, others decided to stay online, like Yazan Binnasser.
“I chose in person because I wanted to develop relationships with my teachers and other students,” said Merchant. “I also feel more productive working from school than at home.”
“Though returning to school with friends and peers seemed like an attractive choice, I chose to continue my senior year online,” said Binnasser. “Amidst the entire pandemic and social distancing guidelines, I feel safer online, to be quite honest. Especially since the integration of virtual students in the classroom is going so well, I don’t regret my choice at all.”
Amidst technical difficulties, learning how to operate Zoom classes, and varying internet issues, students and teachers alike have persevered through various challenges and setbacks.
In classes like Yearbook, students have met to discuss plans for the upcoming year.
“Organizing and creating the yearbook has definitely been a challenge this year,” said Sahira Desai, a sophomore who chose to stay virtual at this time. “Since most of us are working from home, it’s hard to interact with each other to work on making this yearbook the best it can be. Even though this is an unusual start to the year, I’m really excited about this book because we’ve got the chance to experiment with so many new ideas that everyone will love!”
“Coming to school definitely has its benefits, especially when it comes to hands-on classes like Yearbook,” said Ragini Khullar. “Yet, it has been challenging collaborating with our peers who have
chosen to stay virtual in this time; we’ve really learned how to collaborate and persevere to meet our goals, in unimaginable ways.”
Some teachers prefer a traditional approach to virtual teaching, using a projector to show a physical packet of notes, like that by Ms. Riley in Pre-Calculus Honors.
“Learning mathematics does not differ so much from in-person learning,” said Alex Ilacqua, a sophomore in Ms. Riley’s class. “The teacher is simply projecting the lesson on the screen in front of you, instead of through a projector. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s missing is human contact.”
In IB Chemistry, on the other hand, a traditional virtual white (or black) board approach was used to deliver instruction. While the students would be able to view the teacher writing in real-time, it opened up an opportunity for conversation and questions simultaneously during the lecture.
“Continuing such a rigorous course online does come with certain challenges,” said Joshua Varghese, a senior. “Lectures, testing, and assignments are all different- perhaps more difficult even. But given the situation, we’re in right now, I think that this approach is ideal.”
As all students aim to return to school at some point this year, whether they’re staying online or returning in person at the moment, we aim to make the best of this year. In a time of unconventional “firsts,” our start to the school year has been everything but ordinary.
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