2020-2021 first semester review: what went well and what didn’t

by Brinly Richards (’22) | March 1, 2021

Photo by Riley Walukiewicz (’24)

This past first semester was a wild new experience for Saint Francis students, parents, and teachers alike. Many aspects of the learning experience were different due to COVID-19, but we all worked together to navigate a semester online. 

Numerous students loved the flexibility of our weekly schedule and the Friday Flex days because it was easier to manage time. We found it extremely useful as we were more able to get work done or even relax because of the extra day. In addition, different teachers offered countless resources if we needed help. Junior Eliana Shin (‘22) stated, “My teachers did a good job of changing up class structure to fit our online learning system.”

I agree; teachers made efforts to help us interact with the people in our classes through group projects and breakout rooms. Without these activities, we would have had little to no interaction with others via online class settings like Zoom. I am so grateful to my teachers for their help, especially for their continued patience, support, and understanding during these changing times. 

However, as much as we all worked hard to persevere through the semester, there were also some parts that did not go well. Students found online classes tedious and felt disconnected from their peers and teachers while assignments piled up. Some lost motivation to complete their work to the best of their ability, or even to complete it at all. Numerous students disliked being at home all the time and rarely spending time with their friends; we were constantly fatigued from the monotony of school days and lack of social interactions. 

Some students also found studying 24/7 in a home environment distracting, making it difficult to focus on lessons. This especially proved to be true for students taking honors and AP courses, which are already designed to be difficult. Students virtually (no pun intended) studied all the information on their own, aside from what they were taught in lectures and what was reviewed in class. They found these classes more strenuous despite their best efforts to connect with their teachers and classmates, and to immerse themselves in the coursework. Shin adds that she “found it harder to explore the material since classes often combine the facts with discussion, and that’s less of an option now.” 

Overall, we had a good semester. All of us made it through the many challenging ups and downs, thanks to the combined efforts of our community.

Categories: Opinions

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