Hybrid Learning: Expectations vs. Reality

Isabella Ernsberger, Reporter

Ever since e-Learning started, students have wanted to get back into the school building. E-Learning provided a new appreciation for the school day, as students missed their friends, teachers, and being in a learning environment. As the 2020-2021 school year started, all students were online as the South Bend Community School Corporation’s plan was to offer in-person learning in October. Hybrid learning, a plan that gives students the choice to be in-person or online, started on October 14th. Just four weeks into this new system of learning, students definitely have their thoughts and concerns about it, and some are even willing to share.

Audrey Engel, a senior at Adams, chose to go back in-person because online school was super unmotivating and terrible for my mental health.When asked about hybrid learning, Audrey shared, “I feel like [the hybrid system] just doesn’t work very well. Teachers’ microphones are always off, or online kids are neglected and I hate waking up for first hour every single day for no reason. So many teachers do synchronous classes for no reason. I enjoy being in-person and I feel like I’m far more focused, but it’s difficult for the rest of the days that I’m online.”

I also had the opportunity to speak to Hannah Church, another senior of ours. She told me she “chose to go back in-person because I felt like it was going to be easier for me to actually learn in my classes and give me the motivation to do my work. I also missed the social interaction that is lacking through e-learning.” I asked Hannah whether or not her experience with hybrid is what she expected, “I think in-person classes are somewhat like what I expected. I feel like it’s definitely easier to talk to teachers and ask questions, rather than over Google Meets. I did expect more people to go in-person, but there are only 2-5 people in each of my classes”. Church shared what she likes about the new hybrid system, as well, saying, “ I do enjoy being able to learn from the comfort of my own home. Also, I don’t have to walk from class to class, instead I can just stay in one spot and log in to each class.” When asked about any concerns she has, Hannah shared, “The only concern I do have is that I feel like people that are doing hybrid compared to the people doing full e-learning aren’t getting the same treatment. [For example], I feel like tests are difficult, the kids that go to school are taking tests in-person, while other students get to take it at home. I know there isn’t much we can do, I just don’t think it’s completely fair”. 

To finish our interview, I asked if she would change anything about this new way of learning, “I don’t think I would change anything because I don’t know how else we would manage it. Teachers and students are trying their best to navigate through the semester and, while some teachers are doing things differently, I think each one is managing it the best they can.”

Hailey Bower, part of the class of 2021, shared a few points with me as well, saying, “I feel like the teachers really appreciate what little physical interaction they get with us.” I asked Hailey what she enjoys about the hybrid system, she told me, “I like only going to school for two days, and then doing online [classes]. I still feel like I’m getting what I need, while also being safe at home.”

Hailey also raised a question that I’m sure is on multiple students’ minds, “I’m wondering what’s going to happen with our attendance, I have like 20 absences in one of my classes”. Now that, this year, attendance isn’t solely based on showing up to class, and different teachers tally it in different ways, attendance is an issue multiple students have questions about.

Hybrid learning is nothing like what we’re used to, we’ve all grown up with 5 day school weeks and sitting in desks. And, while this current situation is less than ideal for both students and teachers, it’s important to realize that everyone is navigating this together. It’s harder for some students than it is for others, and the same goes for our teachers, as well. With that knowledge, patience and understanding are key in these times, as we make it through the rest of this year, together. 

Do you prefer hybrid learning or e-learning?

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