It goes without saying that we can all relate to being sick of being cooped up in the house. As college students across the country are either settling in or being sent packing back home, high school seniors in Chicago Public Schools have just begun the first quarter of remote learning from their bedrooms, kitchens and family offices. I know my experience has been relatively chill so far, with a block schedule and breaks between classes to accommodate students’ needs, but one of the most important things to remember about this new collective experience is that everyone goes through it differently! With this fact in mind, I talked to some Chicago seniors about their first week of school and their thoughts on remote learning so far.
Emma Sowinski is a senior at Whitney Young Magnet High School. She says she “appreciates that teachers are more organized than last [school] year during the spring, for sure.” She added that she’s sad to think of who she would have gotten close with if I had in-person classes this year. The general consensus is that teens miss their friends and classroom acquaintances, and the general sense of community that a school environment brings.
Cori Salter, who also attends Whitney Young, noted that she’s excited for the independence that remote learning will require. “Being a senior, and almost an adult, I feel like this is a unique opportunity to be independent and self-sufficient in terms of my education, in preparation for the years of higher education to come,” said Salter. I know I can relate to that feeling. This year will prove as a precursor to the individualized learning that happens in college, especially college courses during a pandemic.
Teens in one of my courses described their first week in one word. Here are some of their responses: draining, fun, chill, stressful, leisurely, interesting, overwhelming, and exciting. Some are worried about the new workload, and some are getting headaches from seven+ hours of screen time in a day. Others are making great new connections, learning new technological skills, and learning with classmates in fun and innovative ways. If you have any thoughts on remote learning, or expectations for the year, hit me up and let me know. Stay safe.
By Leah Ollie, Senior, Whitney Young High School