Returning to School in Hybrid Learning Brings Back Familiar School Nostalgia

Despite+the+obvious+low+number+of+students+in+classrooms+and+a+reduced+ability+to+go+on+the+phone%2C+in-person+learning+for+some+has+brought+back+traditional+high+school+experiences+that+were+missed+in+the+online+setting.

Heath Monsma

Despite the obvious low number of students in classrooms and a reduced ability to go on the phone, in-person learning for some has brought back traditional high school experiences that were missed in the online setting.

“It just feels normal.” That’s what Pioneer junior Jonah Seinfeld had to say about returning back to in-person school after over a year of online instruction. Despite the anticipated chaos of the transition, many kids like Seinfeld are enjoying the social and academic benefits that in-person school has brought. However, others still feel that the whole situation is quite bizarre. 

However, the hybrid model has brought some awkward moments in particular when there are only a few kids in-person. Talking about those classes Seinfeld says, “They tend to not be as fun, but it is what it is. I make it through those hours.” 

In terms of When asked about any other downsides though, Seinfeld was hard pressed to recall any, offering up only the annoyance of having someone on Zoom be played through the speakers in the far too loud. 

Lulu Zhang, Pioneer junior, thinks that the small class impedes on the feeling of a normal school environment. 

“It’s weird because it’s not at full capacity. There’s three or four people in every class and normally it’s 20 to 30. It’s like half the class just died,” she said.

Zhang questioned the school’s decisions not to have students test for Covid or to have vaccination requirements. 

“There’s no health screening or vaccine requirements so that is kinda scary. If you don’t follow social distancing you could be risking your health,.” said Zhang.

Despite some of these downsides, students say they have seen big benefits academically.  Students like the structure and environment that in-person school brings. 

“I think it’s a lot better, especially when it comes to actually learning the material in class,” said Jackson Willmer, a Pioneer junior. 

Willmer says that he is now forced to pay attention. 

“I don’t have all of those distractions around me,” he added. 

Seinfeld agrees saying that he isn’t tempted to go on his phone during class in the same way that he was during Zoom. 

For Zhang, she feels that being in person takes some of the pressure away from speaking in class. 

“When I’m on Zoom, I feel like I’m not talking fluently. I’m just saying whatever comes in my head. When I’m in person you can see everyone, they’re not just a black screen, so I know they’re not going, ‘Oh my god, Lulu’s so dumb,’” she said. 

In-person school has also brought social benefits as well. Seinfeld has enjoyed getting to see all of his friends and teachers at school. 

“I was excited to get back to socializing with people,” he said. “Passing time has been my favorite part of going back. You get to talk with all of your friends. There’s ten minutes in between all of your classes as opposed to seven minutes last year. I got to go see my teachers from last year and say hi which was really nice.”

The small, common occurrences that shape the high school experience are back and students say that this is maybe the most notable part of coming back. Seinfeld recalled walking into his sixth hour class to learn that they had a sub for that hour. 

“I saw the sub, saw I had four of my friends in the class, and that we got to choose where we sat, so I was really excited,” he said.

The chaos that came from the hybrid model compounded this excitement. 

“Our sub didn’t know how to work the Zoom, so we didn’t have real class,” he said. “We were doing the work and talking for the entire hour. It reminded me of days where you had a sub and you just gotta have fun with our friends in school.”