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Get Outta Town! CB Students & Teachers Take On School Away From Home

As with many things in 2020, if you told me last year that we could be on vacation AND go to school at the same time, I would have thought it was impossible. With online school resuming this fall, I wanted to hear from students and teachers about what it’s been like to engage in […]

As with many things in 2020, if you told me last year that we could be on vacation AND go to school at the same time, I would have thought it was impossible. With online school resuming this fall, I wanted to hear from students and teachers about what it’s been like to engage in distance learning in unfamiliar locations. 

Katelyn doing her homework in her trailer.

Online school is already distracting enough, so it’s not surprising we find ourselves more distracted when we have to study somewhere other than our homes. Katelyn Spencer (’22) attended class online while at Dillon Beach for an extended weekend. 

“It was more distracting because I was with my friends the whole time, and I was obviously at the beach,” Katelyn said. “I mean, what’s not distracting about the beach?”

The beach is a relaxing place to go for the weekend, mostly because it gives us the opportunity to unplug from our phones due to spotty reception. That was not the case for Katelyn when trying to connect with her teachers for class.

“I did not have that great of service, so hearing them and participating was hard.”

Some would argue the best part of a vacation is the flexibility to explore new places without work or school. This wasn’t the case for the Krause family, who was cooped up in a hotel for a whole week in Houston. With a two-hour time difference, school started between 10:30 and 11:00 every morning and ended around 4:00 or 5:00 each night. 

The Krause family in Houston after school.

“Our school took up the majority of the day, so we couldn’t do much,” Quincy Krause (’23) said.

“It was really annoying because of the time difference and not being able to see much of Houston,” Kyle Krause (’22) added.

Naturally, online school plus a city view in a hotel room made it even more difficult for Kyle to focus. 

“I had a hard time paying attention because I could look out and see all of Houston.”

For anyone involved in sports, it’s a commitment that requires a lot of time and energy. With that brings the challenge of missing class and still being responsible to complete your schoolwork. This fall, Josh Ryan (’23) traveled to Utah for competitive mountain biking during a school week. With only a one-hour time difference, Josh had an easier time with online school.

“It was a lot nicer than expected and a lot less distracting being away from reality.” The pandemic has encouraged people to spend more time doing things that they enjoy and focus on the simpler things in life, like being outside. For Josh, it was more enjoyable to attend class in Utah knowing that afterwards, he was able to get on his mountain bike.

For teachers, distance learning provides different kinds of challenges. Besides lesson plans and grading, they are also facing new technological challenges such as whether or not their students are able to log on and hear them. Mr. Brendan Hogan ’95 went for an extended stay in Tahoe a few weeks back.

“There was the anxiety of ‘is my internet going to work?’ and I didn’t want my teaching to fall off, so I packed up a lot more than I normally would have.”

It seems like all we hear about is how 2020 has negatively impacted our lives. We are constantly reminded of the things that we are no longer able to do, but we sometimes lose sight of the fact that 2020 has brought us new opportunities. Somehow my grandparents managed to log online to video chat, my sister who lives in Oregon can now attend family dinner on Sundays, and my aunt has mastered the art of the TikTok.

In some backwards way, it’s a blessing that we have the resources to attend class online while on vacation. As Mr. Hogan says, “COVID-19 gives us a lot of new opportunities we would not be able to take in a regular school year.”

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