Reflections on Remote Learning

Reflections+on+Remote+Learning

Amelia Valente, Chief Editor

When Milford High School finalized their two school models for the 2020-2021 academic school year, students had an important and difficult decision to make regarding their education: will they return to school for only two days each week as part of the new hybrid model, or will they continue their education on remote platforms from home, full-time? Both of these decisions come with their own set of advantages, challenges and consequences. My experience as a fully-remote senior this year has impacted me and my education in both positive and negative ways. 

While the idea of learning from the comfort of your own home and completing assignments on your own time may sound easy and appealing, the lack of daily structure and routine that is a hallmark of remote learning requires students to have a certain degree of discipline, maturity, and independence, and develop skills such as time management and organization. In my opinion, one of the most difficult aspects of remote learning is the lack of live teacher instruction and interaction with peers. As a student who is almost exclusively enrolled in Virtual High School classes, I rarely interact with my teachers or fellow classmates in a live setting. Since my enjoyment and excitement about school often comes from the connections and relationships I form with my teachers and friends, being able to simply greet them in the hallway, stop by their room after school, or participate in discussions face-to-face are now experiences that I truly miss. Another aspect of remote learning that I find challenging is the way assignments are structured. In school there are clear distinctions between verbal lecturing, classwork, and homework. What if I told you that for fully-remote students, those distinctions do not exist? Every assignment feels like homework, and it is difficult to determine a teacher’s expectations and how much time you should be spending on your work.  The challenge with doing work for remote platforms stems from the idea that you are now fully responsible for your own education and comprehension of concepts. There is no teacher to be accountable to each day to monitor your progress or encourage you to learn. The decision to learn is one that you have to make for yourself, and the motivation to complete assignments must be self directed. If you choose not to complete assignments the consequences are clear, and there are no second chances if you miss a deadline. Also If you have a question, it is nearly impossible to get an answer immediately. In other words, the assignments are not supplements to learning like they would be in school, but instead they are the primary way in which students learn academic concepts, so this new format does take some time to get used to.

Choosing remote classes also has an impact on the specific classes and levels that are available to you. Many remote students had to make different decisions about class selection. My recommendation to any student that has to make a choice regarding remote class selection would be to choose subjects and classes that interest you the most while still fulfilling your requirements. It is much easier to maintain your focus at home and work independently if you are studying something that interests you. As a remote student it is also challenging to stay connected to the school community which frequently relies on shared experiences and in person interaction. Continued involvement in socially distanced extracurricular activities and clubs is one way that remote students can stay connected to school. On the positive side, being a fully remote student has allowed me to continue with school without the added anxiety and distraction of safety precautions, and instilled in me a greater sense of responsibility for my own education and a greater ability to manage my time. It has forced me to set my own daily routine and rely on myself to complete my assignments and bring structure to my day. 

I am sad that we are in a position as a society and community that remote learning is necessary and that my senior year at Milford High School will not be anything like how I envisioned it. Remote learning is not the best choice for everyone, but I am happy that the remote learning option was offered and confident in my decision to choose it this year. Despite the challenges of this new learning format, I am hopeful that what I can gain from this experience will lessen the effects of what I have missed out on.