Hybrid Learning at WOHS

Centerville+High+School+in+Iowa+is+empty+like+many+high+schools+across+America.

CENTERVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Centerville High School in Iowa is empty like many high schools across America.

Charley Dvorin

Since March of last year, West Orange High School was not holding any in-person learning like the majority of high schools in the United States. However, about a year later on March 8th, 2021, optional hybrid learning began. Curious to see how in-person learning would be like, my brother and I signed up, and since we are the first cohort, we went into school the first day it had opened. 

Walking through the halls for the first time in over a year was not as strange to me as I would have expected it to be. I felt like no time had passed. What made it so strange was the lack of students. Of course I knew that there were going to be a lot fewer students than normal times, but it was still a little disheartening to see. It made me feel bad for the teachers, who were so clearly excited to meet some of their students. Additionally, it aided the opinion that school in person was not very different from Zoom learning. In most of my classes, I was the only one present. The max amount of kids in one class for me personally was 2, including myself. Some of my teachers would do a great job of trying to make eye contact with the in-person students, while others were faced away from me and talking strictly to the class on Zoom. I do not blame those who did that, and I understand that when your whole class is on zoom you have to focus on them. This did, however, make me feel like it would be easier for both me and my teacher if I was on Zoom instead. Since I am usually the only one in the classroom, I can’t talk to anyone or ask them questions, so it does feel a bit awkward at times.  I am not saying that students should be forced to go into school, everyone has personal reasons, but I definitely think that the lack of students discourages people who are on the fence about actually doing so. 

Looking at the more positive side of hybrid, for some of my classes, it benefited me a lot to be in person. If I had a casual question, I did not have to go through the whole process of waiting for my teacher to be silent, unmuting myself, the connection not working, etc. Instead, I could just get the answer right away. Since I was the only student in the room for most of my classes, my teachers were making sure I was staying on track, doing the work properly, etc. Personally, I enjoy this attention because it makes me more confident in my work when I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and getting feedback to make sure I can get the best grade possible. I am also able to form actual relationships with my teachers and have real conversations, which makes it more enjoyable in class and allows my teacher to know me more and vice versa. 

If you were to tell me to take into consideration everything about my experience thus far with hybrid and ask me if I wanted to continue, I would ultimately say yes. It is only 4 days out of the whole month and allows me to complete my work knowing exactly what the teacher wants. It also allows my teacher and I to get to know each other a bit more, and learn from one another in regards to our experiences with Zoom. Plus, I get to wear all the clothes I splurged on during quarantine, so to say no to an opportunity to wear a cute outfit would simply be rude to my bank account.