Students struggle with distance learning during quarantine


Valeria Luquin

Staff writer Valeria Luquin works on her online classes during the pandemic.

Valeria Luquin

When we switched to online learning, I began using Edgenuity for my Algebra 2 and Spanish Speakers 2 classes. I have found it difficult to learn new Algebra 2 concepts while using Edgenuity. It can be discouraging at times because I can’t ask the Edgenuity teacher in a pre-recorded math lesson questions when I’m confused.

Online learning is not as effective as learning in a classroom setting. The sudden shift from learning in a classroom to learning online has been a difficult adjustment for many students, teachers and parents for multiple reasons. Without the classroom setting, it can be hard to be productive and motivate yourself to get your work done. In a class setting, classmates, friends and teachers are there to help and motivate you. Now, the motivation to get your work down weighs heavily on your shoulders. 

When I think of my home, it’s a place where I unwind from a long day and allow myself to relax. While in quarantine, my home has turned into more than that. It’s become a school for my 8-year-old sister and me, along with an office for my parents. You wake up, get ready for the day’s Zoom sessions, and try to find some normality by doing your schoolwork and following a routine. 

With distance learning, teachers have had to change the way they teach their students. It has not been an easy adjustment for students or teachers. Some teachers take the opportunity during Zoom sessions to give their students 45-minute class lessons or notes. Others have switched to using the online learning platform, Edgenuity. While some students are used to using this platform and taking online classes, others are not. Up until now, I’ve never used Edgenuity. 

In attempts to help students, my math teacher, Lori Seo, occasionally offers tutoring via Zoom, which is helpful. She’s also created a discussion board on Schoology for students to write down questions they have while learning on Edgenuity. 

We all appreciate how helpful and understanding our teachers have been during this time. They understand how vital distance learning is to continuing our education. They try their best to help us and make sure we don’t fall too behind in our learning. 

However, there are certain things that our teachers can do to make distance learning easier for their students. For some classes, it feels like the workload has increased compared to our time in the classroom. A lot of students have many responsibilities at home, such as caring for their younger siblings, babysitting younger relatives, cooking, cleaning, etc. It can feel overwhelming and unmotivating when they know they have a pile of work they need to get done. Some students have extra anxiety because they have parents and family members who are healthcare workers or essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Per the district’s new policy, students will not receive a grade lower than the grades they had on March 13. This has brought some relief to many students, including myself. Students with a grade lower than an “A” can still work to raise their grades throughout the remainder of the semester. 

Not all students had their own computers at the beginning of the online learning switch. 

Nor did all students have stable Wi-Fi, but LAUSD has provided devices like a Chromebook and a hotspot to students who need it. This has made the switch easier for students who were not able to get their online work done.

Judging on how everything looks right now, I don’t think students will be back on campus and learning in a classroom for the 2020-2021 fall semester. It makes me sad, but at the same time, it worries me. Will we all be starting a new school year feeling very behind? Will all my classmates be able to transition into a new school year if they are not even checking in with their teachers now? What about the students who have not been attending Zoom sessions or completing their Edgenuity assignments? Will everyone be used to distance learning by the fall semester? 

Although adjusting to this new lifestyle has been a bit of a challenge, I have found some positives in these times of uncertainty. Before the school closures, each morning I would wake up around 5:30 a.m. in order to have enough time to get ready and catch the school bus to get to school. Now, I have more time to sleep in and feel more awake when I attend my Zoom classes. 

During these times, I’ve also had more time to bullet journal, which is a key part of how I stay organized and up to date with all my assignments and deadlines. Following a schedule, waking up at a reasonable time, creating a designated workspace for myself and having a “time-frame” of when I sit down to do work has also been very helpful for me. It makes me feel like I’m still in school. 

I understand the importance of staying home during this pandemic. Many of us are safe in the comfort of our home. We’re also thankful that the school district understands the importance of continuing student’s learning while at home. But distance learning is not as effective as learning in a classroom setting because it’s hard to motivate yourself to do your work and be productive. By having teachers decrease their workload, it can help students feel less overwhelmed. Improving the teacher-student communication outside of Zoom sessions would be helpful as well.

 Everyone is being affected by this pandemic in one way or another, so being there for each other will help us get through this together.