To say that the transition to hybrid learning has been difficult would be an understatement. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ways in which students, teachers, and administrators are able to work with one another has been dramatically altered, and nobody quite knows when things will go back to normal. More than two months into the school year, this setup is still very foreign to many, and it has brought its fair share of problems as well. There is a sense of uncertainty that lingers on with the hybrid learning model, and it is definitely taking some getting used to. It is of utmost importance, that the district, to adheres CDC guidelines in order to maintain a safe, healthy environment, but that does not make it easy by any means.
Being a high school student is challenging enough, but with a brand new learning model and a global pandemic, these challenges are amplified. The leadership of our administrators is greatly appreciated, however there is still an intense amount of difficulty and stress that inevitably comes along with hybrid learning. Amongst my peers, there is a general consensus that “at-home” days are the hardest due to the monotony and excessive screen time. “Zoom burnout” as some have dubbed it, is a real and relatable phenomenon, bringing about fatigue and angst that may prevent students and teachers from doing their best work. This monotony can make it “really hard to stay motivated”, junior Archana Kumaran explains, and she is definitely not alone in that. Such a large dependence on screens for education is an unfortunate aspect of this model, so trying to limit screen time otherwise is very important.
Although it brings a sense of much-needed normalcy for some, in-person learning comes with some challenges as well. Many hallways and staircases in the building have been designated as one-way, and many students seem to be struggling with this. “There may be a class you have to get to that is pretty closeby, but to get to it, you have to do a loop around the entire school. It’s really annoying” says junior Jackson Campbell. Additionally, junior Vivian Carvalho notices how “people don’t actually pay attention to [the arrows]” which is a problem that definitely needs to be addressed from a safety perspective. These adjustments have proven to be tedious and annoying for some, but they are crucial in maintaining the health and safety of our community. In addition, a problem that has been brought up is the large number of “in school” tests in one given day. Typically, students are only allowed to have 2 test in a day, however, with hybrid learning this number has not been adhered too. This has added a significant amount of stress to the lives of students, however it generally is unavoidable because students are only in school 2 days a week.
Clearly this model has its flaws, and students are not the only ones feeling the effects of them. These past few months have been especially stressful for teachers and administrators who are tasked with providing guidance and support in such a time when stability feels impossible. Their cooperation, flexibility, and leadership does not go unnoticed, and we as students are very lucky to have such a strong support system during this strange time.
Although everyone is doing their best with the situation at hand, the ways in which many teachers are used to teaching has been uprooted! Managing so many different cohorts, classes, and lessons can be overwhelming. Health and Physical Education teacher Ms. Carlone explains that “[the] block schedule and hybrid model make it very difficult for “every other day” classes with consistency and content…There is also a lot of back end work to be done to make sure lessons run efficiently.” As a student, it is easy to forget the effort that goes into our quality of education, but it is so important to be sensitive to the fact that we are not the only ones faced with stressful challenges in regards to this model. Remaining sensitive and remembering that this is a period of adjustment for everyone is of utmost importance.
Despite all of these challenges, everyone is doing their best to adjust in these unprecedented times, and everyone’s persistence has been amazing. All students, teachers, and administrators have been effortlessly doing their part to allow this model to continue on, even when it has not been easy or perfect. Our school has been able to stay opened when many other schools have had to close down, thanks to the contribution of everyone in the Blind Brook community. Nobody knows what the next few months, weeks or even days will hold, but over these past few trying months, we have proven to ourselves that we are capable of anything when we come together.