Freshmen Feel Distracted During Distance Learning

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William Huang, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools around the nation have shut down. For many students, this means the majority of their 2020-2021 school year will be taught through distance learning. As a result, many students are forced to adjust to the new system. For incoming first-year students, this also means adjusting to a new environment.

Many freshmen feel that their social lives have suffered during distance learning. Eleanor Roosevelt High School freshman Trevor Bateman says that he has made “very little” contact with others during his time so far in high school. When it comes to learning, Bateman feels even worse about it, stating “I have also adjusted mentally and started to not care about learning anything anymore.” His disdain for the situation stems from the fact that he gets “distracted” and has a loss in “motivation” while learning by himself. He does enjoy the fact that distance learning gives him a chance to have “more time” in his day, however, he made it very clear that he’d “rather be learning at school.”

Freshman teachers at Roosevelt are faced with the challenge of teaching “shy, overwhelmed” freshmen as one teacher stated (he wanted to stay anonymous). This teacher felt that on the learning side, “Some students learn better in the distance learning environment and some students learn better in the classroom environment. Each student has his/her own learning style. I think some freshmen are having a difficult time because they’re not used to being responsible for their own learning….I imagine the middle school teachers were always there to guide them compared to now when they must be responsible for their participation and become active learners.” However, this teacher also felt that it was not an impossible situation to learn from as some freshmen are “having no problems adjusting to high school and are doing very well.” 

For parents of high schoolers, distance learning has benefited them by relieving them of specific responsibilities. Andy Royle, a parent of a Roosevelt freshman, says that because of distance learning, he does not have to get his son “out of bed in the morning or get him on the bus or get him to school.” Occasionally, he may find his son off task, catching him “watching Youtube or something when he shouldn’t.” Still, he feels like “for high school aged kids, [distance learning] is not too bad.” Any significant issues he believes that exist are for his child, mostly because he is a freshman. He states that “it probably is easier for upperclassmen because they know what’s expected of them and they know the routine.” In his eyes, the problem is exacerbated by the “lack of interpersonal contact” his son has with other peers and teachers.

There seems to be a general consensus between freshmen students, parents, and teachers that there is more freedom in scheduling one’s day through distance learning, but a higher chance of getting off task or distracted, which reduces productivity. The various challenges surrounding learning and the deterioration of socializing are also some agreed upon issues with distance learning. These are some obstacles that freshmen are trying to overcome and will hopefully adjust to soon.