Virtual Learning, the New Normal

What is it like to remain home for school?


Iris Higier

Having an organized area like that of sophomore Iris Higier is important for virtual learning, which many students at Abington High School are doing due to the Covid pandemic.

Iris Higier, Staff Writer

Sometimes the best lessons we learn in school are not from the books. Or the teachers. But through our own struggles.

Over the summer the Abington Board of Health and School committee worked very diligently in making sure the transition to online school would be simple, but spent more time focusing on the reopening of the building. On Wed., Sept. 16, students finally returned. I decided to do the Virtual Academy.

When school started, at first my online learning through the virtual academy started off rough, with seven new and overdue assignments and so much confusion. My family and I had very little guidance about the new technology and we felt alone. Although adapting to a new style of learning was very stressful and frustrating at first, it got better.

The biggest help did not come from the virtual academy itself, but rather from Ms. Parks, an Abington high School guidance counselor, and Mr. Bourn, Abington High’s new principal. They explained why some academics were delayed, and how each academic course would be taught with the same curriculum as Abington High’s.

Slowly but surely, my schedule became clearer. I started off with three subjects (history, math, and English), and in later weeks got Spanish, chemistry and an online “homeroom” advisor.  After contacting the school, my family and I learned that online courses only included core academics, and not any electives like hybrid school would.

Online learning is very straightforward. Assignments that are given could be due by the end of that day or be due by the end of the next. “TECCA” (TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School) gives students small classes so that they could learn more efficiently and get more attention from teachers.

Since more and more students have been joining, classes have been changed, which causes frequent changes in staff. Besides my English teacher, all of my teachers have been switched out at least once, but the process is not too disruptive to the students.

Online school provides an opportunity to work at your own pace and is not as stressful.

— Iris Higier

Each teacher holds two “LiveLessons” each week. Students are encouraged to go to one of them, or to watch a recording of the lesson if unavailable. Most LiveLessons only have a chat box function for the student, allowing the student to type any questions or answers they have without having to turn on their microphone or camera.

Online school provides an opportunity to work at your own pace and is not as stressful. Teachers are always available to answer any questions via webmail or through their office hours. Office hours are when teachers are in their LiveLesson rooms available to answer questions.

A clean and organized workspace is heavily endorsed by each teacher and makes online learning much easier. As with any schoolwork, organization and time-management are very important. This is more crucial online because there is no teacher nearby to help you.

Patience is also very important. The Internet may be slow or your laptop may not work, but the important thing to remember is that teachers are very understanding and due dates are only seriously enforced at the end of each semester.

Even though TECCA provides a very rich style of learning, is much less stressful, and teaches self-motivation and organization, I am still excited to return back to school and be able to socialize as I once did. I believe that even though in-person learning can be stressful and has a set schedule, it is still very important to socialize and return back to a norm all students of Abington High are used to.