OPINION: I am overwhelmed by virtual learning

My computer lit up with an email notification on a Saturday night as I sat down with my family to watch a movie. I clicked on the message and read, “Google Classroom assignment due Monday.” Although I had spent the whole day completing homework so that I could have a free Sunday, that plan had changed.

With the entire world going online, a separation between work and home life can feel non-existent. Entire families are performing their jobs, schoolwork and more from inside their homes and it has brought up a myriad of issues that were not prevalent before the pandemic.

In challenging times, certain aspects of life need to remain normal. Having assignments due on Friday nights or on the weekends is disregarding the necessary separation of work and home life. Not only does this not give students the opportunity to unwind, but it also creates a never-ending cycle of work for teachers. Even though having an online system of learning allows for random due dates and times, assignments should not be due after established school hours.

With the synchronous and asynchronous learning system that was instituted at San Marin this year, students have a challenging schedule to navigate. Not only is it necessary to manage a schedule of video calls with teachers, but also a series of assignments that are due at specific times throughout the day. In order to take attendance properly, many teachers assign individual work that is due at a specific time of day. To properly complete and submit these assignments on time, students must possess the ability to plan out their day and prioritize work accordingly. Those who do not have this natural ability to manage their schedule also no longer have the safety net of frequent teacher reminders or the face to face consequences of missing an assignment that comes with in person learning. While some teachers do send out reminders and notifications about due dates, it is very easy to overlook them.

I have found that to keep myself emotionally healthy during this time, I need to get outside and see people in safe ways. It is mentally exhausting to spend an entire day in one space and especially impossible for those with little to no room and hectic home lives. As teenagers, this period of time is significant socially. As important as it is to be careful right now, it is just as important to find creative ways to see one another. Although there seems to be no foreseeable end to this unusual lifestyle at the moment, it is important that we take the best care of ourselves that we can. Both students and teachers need to do their best to be mutually understanding about all of the struggles that are encompassed with online learning.

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