Many students’ first day back to in-person learning was Wednesday, September 9, a 181-day gap since the first day of the coronavirus shutdown. However, Fifth Former Jeffrey Johnson’s break from in-person learning lasted an astonishing 391 days. For various reasons, including state quarantine guidelines, a long commute, and coronavirus precautions, the Delaware native chose to learn virtually for the first three quarters of the school year.
With many of his friends and classmates back at school, Johnson had a tough time adjusting to learning at home while seeing his classmates collaborate in person.
“At times, it was a challenge not to be able to rely on your classmates in class as much as normal,” Johnson said. “I got used to being isolated towards the end, especially in the third quarter. It was a challenge making sure I was on the same page as everyone else.”
“At times, it was a challenge not to be able to rely on your classmates in class as much as normal. I got used to being isolated towards the end, especially in the third quarter.”Jeffrey Johnson ’22
Apart from the troubles he had collaborating with classmates, Johnson experienced technical difficulties, making virtual learning a frustrating experience at times.
“One of the big problems was making sure I could hear everybody and the teacher well,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, even though you’re on the call and it seems like you’re hearing everything fine, there are points where classes became a bit inaudible, and I couldn’t hear everything effectively. Sometimes I could hear the big points of a certain subject but I couldn’t hear all the details…That hurt me in some classes where maybe I didn’t get every detail down or couldn’t understand every detail.”
In terms of his teachers’ efforts at including him in-class activities, Johnson thought they did an admirable job, under the circumstances.
“At first it was a little rocky, but as it went on, the experience started to get better and better,” Johnson said. “It’s very hard for the teachers to balance the time they spend making sure everyone is getting proper attention at home and at school. Sometimes it could’ve been balanced a little better, but overall it wasn’t that bad.”
After spending over a year learning from home, Johnson decided to return to school for the beginning of quarter four.
Johnson said, “I wanted to come back and get into a better routine overall. Sometimes, with online school, I was staying in the house too much, and I wanted to get out more. Some days I did feel like doing online school, but after a while I just kind of felt like I wanted to go to school.”
“I wanted to come back and get into a better routine overall. Sometimes, with online school, I was staying in the house too much, and I wanted to get out more.”Jeffrey Johnson ’22
In comparison to his virtual experience, Johnson’s first couple of weeks of learning in person have improved the quality of his learning.
“I get to interact with teachers better. I have a better understanding of some of the topics, especially in my Spanish class. It was tough online trying to communicate with my teacher in Spanish,” Johnson said. “From that perspective, it’s been better, making sure I have a better understanding of what’s going on.”