From One Week to the Next, Everything Changed: Virtual Learning at TCFL

From one week to the next, everything changed. 

Online classes. 

This was what us, students, were suddenly told would take place. There was no way of knowing, predicting, or preparing for what we all woke up and explored on Tuesday March 17th, 2020. Neither students nor teachers had ever experienced this before, but luckily, in today’s world, we definitely had the resources to begin. After having gone through this week, we have noticed the most impacting differences of this alternative school system. Besides the fact that you are in your house and see everybody through a screen, the actual distinctions in class are much less evident unless you experience them. For example, when you don’t hear what the teacher says you can’t tap on your partner for help or when you are confused with an activity you have no choice but to interrupt the whole class so you can listen to the teacher repeat it. If we look around, all of us are alone in our houses and must resolve all problems for ourselves. Even though this does implement more responsibility, there is a reason the school system has always included sharing a classroom with all your peers instead of staying home. It's how the real world works. Nobody is ever alone and at the end of the day to triumph we must work together. 

At this very time, with the obstacles that have fallen upon the world, we are forced to, temporarily, change this system. All teachers and students are trying hard to cooperate in this unknown territory in order to keep on receiving the education we have a privileged access to, even in unfavorable circumstances. One week of online classes has gone by already, with material and lessons being presented to us through online platforms. Even group work and projects are assigned and must be done through video calls, maintaining communication between all of us to support each other with any doubts or complications.

It is no secret that online classes are not the same or as easy to pull through as physical ones. Yet without missing even a day, all our teachers showed up, took charge, and told us how classes are going to work. Even subconsciously, it is truly comforting that, though so many aspects of our lives are paused, learning definitely isn’t. The schoolwork is the same, although the way we do it can change, but adapting is part of life, with or without a quarantine. Speaking for myself at least: yes, I do prefer going to school and seeing my friends and working in person. Regardless, the fact that the school has stepped up so quickly and continued the rhythm of teaching imposed during the whole year has helped me, and all of the students, normalize our day to day life. We still put in the same effort and focus on school the way we did last week, when we had no idea what we were about to face.

For each student the virus is more than one thing, with more than one aspect. In literal terms it is: an infectious disease caused by a new virus (according to the World Health Organization). As a factor of each one of our lives, the virus has pushed our creativity, giving us boredom that we must try harder to surpass. It locks us in our houses for a long time and doesn’t let us have any type of fun with friends outside, so we are forced to call and text so much more than we used to. It makes us lazy because we can’t go to our after school sports classes and practice with our teammates. 

The virus has also shown us how strong we are. It has taught us all the different things we can try at home with our families. It has shown us how to keep being active and release our energy in different ways. The virus has opened our eyes and made us cherish all the daily things we took for granted like being able to see our friends and socialize everyday. Even those days, when we were too tired to say good morning we now long for. 

So we all want this to end, but when it ends we will be changed. Things won't be the same because we will all have come back after a sudden quarantine, with different values and a different appetite for life. For seeing the people that we used to see everyday and suddenly stopped, for being able to ask our peers for help, for going to the supermarket to buy groceries, for waiting in a line with less than a two meter distance between each person. There are takeaways from this experience that even though nobody asked for, many people needed.

The virus is scary, unpredictable, new.  It has forced us to take measures and make sudden changes to protect ourselves and others in our community. It has changed our perspectives and taken away our ability to do many things while showing us how many others we can try. Although everybody is keeping so much distance, we are there for eachother more than ever. With our attitudes and the values we prioritize we decide how this virus will affect us, and I for one, will not let it be an obstacle to the ways I get to enjoy life. Modifications are not one sided, they have their positive and negative aspects. This virus is not a matter of a good or bad thing, a more specific definition would be: a difficult opportunity we ourselves decide what to make of

-Alexandra Moutafi, 9th Grade