The Challenges of Virtual Students

Sophomore%2C+Julianna+Falcon%2C+begins+working+on+her+schoolwork+for+the+day.+

Sophomore, Julianna Falcon, begins working on her schoolwork for the day.

Isabella Carlin , Reporter

Navigating the world of online schooling has become a daily routine for many CP students and teachers throughout this unprecedented academic year. Long days in front of a computer screen and the limited interaction between teachers and students has continued to present challenges even five months after school began. 

Before classes began on August 12th, parents and students were asked by Conroe ISD  to make a decision regarding their learning platform in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. 40% of CISD students chose to attend online school the 1st marking period. Since Christmas break, only 18% of CISD students remain attending classes online. Currently, most College Park virtual students complete their classes asynchronously and all students are required to submit their work by midnight each day. This lack of structure throughout the day has caused difficulty for many. 

I noticed that some online students experienced difficulty completing assignments or turning in work.” English III teacher, Mrs. Knox said. “One student that returned to in-person learning reported that completing work at home was a struggle. She told me she worked more efficiently at school knowing that her peers were sitting next to her working on their assignments too.” 

Without the constant time restraints of a bell schedule and presence of peers nearby in a classroom, some online students have struggled with navigating and planning their school days. The midnight deadline of schoolwork also contributes to this conflict as students may feel that they have the entire day to work. However, what many virtual students have begun to realize is that seven loads of classwork can pile up quickly even though the day may be presented like a  free-for-all. 

“Doing school virtually after only a year of high school experience is a little tough, especially when it comes to separating school from home,” sophomore, Julianna Falcon said. “I find it helpful to stick to a schedule I would normally have if I were at school. For example, I take a 30 minute break in the middle of the day and a long break around 3:00.” 

In addition to making sure work is turned in on time and all assignments are complete, students have to make sure they are taking care of their mental health and making time for relaxation throughout the busy school week. Since many virtual students do not see their peers or teachers on a daily basis, it can be easy to become isolated from the school community. Communication is essential for online students to stay engaged with their peers. Also, making time to take breaks and spend time outside is a necessary responsibility of students for their well being. It is up to students to accomplish these tasks as they do not have a traditional school day to keep them focused.

“Online school is difficult because you don’t have the teacher always accessible to you. You must be very independent and must be willing to teach yourself sometimes,” junior, Crystal Zimmermann said. “This takes a lot of discipline.”

The lack of teacher-student interactions through the virtual platform has caused online learners to become more responsible for their grades this year. Since students are not receiving live instruction, it may take some more time to grasp material as they have to find the right resources to aid their learning. The increase in teacher tutorials has also helped ease this challenge since the beginning of the school year. Despite the obstacles that come along with online school, the program has kept students who were concerned about contracting the virus safe. 

“While we want to live life, we should also think about those who are less fortunate due to the virus. Staying home to do online school has been a challenge for my academic and social life but it helps me stay safe and others as well,” junior, Taylor Beers said.