As of last week, exciting news has spread of OLCHS’ return to school on a hybrid learning model. Hybrid learning is an educational model where some students attend class in-person for a few days a week, while others join the class virtually from home. Teachers teach remote and in-person students at the same time using tools like WebEx. This method allows for a staggered approach to re-entering school, which will decrease the chances of COVID-19 being spread. Although a hopeful improvement, many Spartans still foster their own individual wishes and concerns. According to the vast majority of students, the entrance into hybrid learning is a great way of re-introducing normal schooling and finally meeting their teachers, but many still have some underlying concerns.
Ken Cabral, one optimistic track-runner, states, “Personally, I am very excited to go back to a school environment. Being away from school gave me too much freedom over the course of 2020 and I am looking forward to having a daily routine and being in a real learning environment. I am also looking forward to seeing my teachers that I have yet to meet in person.” Lots of students can relate to what Ken said. Although e-learning was exciting at first, many are now bored and wish to go back to school to see their friends and new teachers.
Another happy-camper, Ellie Enriquez, elaborates upon her opinions. She says, “I think hybrid learning is a great way to maintain the important social aspects of school. We are taking all the necessary precautions needed to keep ourselves and others safe while also doing the best with what we can, given the circumstances. I know the remote part of school has been tough on everyone. Teachers get sad when students don’t turn their cameras on and students are bummed that they can’t be in class either. Hybrid learning really is the best way to get through this tough year. I’m so excited to meet my teachers in person and I’m sure they feel the same. This time away from the staff and students has truly proven how much of a close knit family we all are. Our culture is shown to be prominent through hybrid learning here at OLCHS.” Ellie expresses how she is mainly focused on the upsides of hybrid learning. Many Spartans, like Ellie, are excited to get out of their houses and return to school-if only for a little while.
However, on a different note, many students still have concerns regarding the difficulties of reemerging into real-life learning.
Mary Teresa Concannon of the Oak Lawn chess team points out, “I mean I’m happy to return to a similar learning environment, but I’m worried for how it will affect the fluidity of our lessons.” This is a concern for students and teachers alike. Since teachers have to teach both online and in-person, it’s bound to breed uncertainties about how that will play out.
Another junior, Jianna Nazifi says, “I want to go to school, I do, but I’ve grown accustomed to work at home. My cat’s here, ya’ know? I can’t just leave him!”
Additionally, this transition not only affects the students, it also puts a great pressure on the teachers of Oak Lawn as well.
One freshman-sophomore English teacher and Harvard graduate, Mr. Doyle, exemplifies concerns that a lot of teachers can relate to. He states, “I think hybrid will be a challenge for teachers as far as planning lessons is involved. But I think it will afford teachers a better chance of forging relationships with students than working remotely.” Mr. Doyle expresses his excitement for something both students and teachers have said they look forward to: the ability to form real-life connections with this year’s set of teachers and classmates.
Also, one of the sophomore Chemistry teachers, Ms. Martin, expresses, “I am excited for hybrid as I finally get to actually see my students in person! I think it will be more effective teaching and learning when we are together and can interact in person. I am looking forward to starting a new experience. I hope students will enjoy being back together.”
There are so many different opinions and worries that the Spartans have expressed for the entrance into hybrid learning. But, at the end of the day, the majority are excited for this new advancement and the opportunities it will bring in the future.