Why online school failed for many


Photo by Jordan Needleman

Junior Walter Cederbrant finishes his math homework during his lunch break.

It is not news to any of you that the world has changed in some aspects for the better, but, in the case of education, students got the short end of the stick. School has been significantly different this year, a year in which students hid behind blank screens and muted microphones.

When school shut down a little over a year ago nobody knew how long online school would be, much less the impact of the virus across the world. This was reflected best by the county’s overall decision-making toward our learning. The fact that they were changing the school schedule mere weeks before the school year was set to start in September sent warning signs to students, teachers and parents alike. On the first day of school, students saw MyMCPS crash, which has been an infrequent but still reoccurring issue. However, it’s more important to look at the things that really harmed students and teachers this year. It is truly not fair to anybody that they have to deal with the stress of school on top of the unprecedented and historic pandemic.

There was a total lack of engagement from many students, which likely is not doing the teachers any favors. Now it is most certainly not the teacher’s fault, it’s the system. Stressing independent work over more teacher-guided lessons has forced students to go about their work differently. Juniors Walter Cedarbrant and Ryan Binder both said that class instruction has been more self-taught than usual. A perfect example is science classes. Most classes rely on labs and hands-on experiences to effectively grasp and learn the material, which were not able to occur this year.

On a much harsher note, according to an anonymous Twitter poll there has been a significant uptick in cheating among students. This is likely due to a lack of a structured environment to perform independent assignments. Although it is not condoned, it’s hard for students to resist the urge to cheat on tests and assignments at home. Binder still believes that most students are doing the work themselves. “ If you don’t learn the material, you can’t apply it in the building or on SAT’s,” he said.

Despite this entire year being online, it is likely that in-person school is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Although most students are not back at school in person there is no doubt that they are looking forward to starting next year seeing the people they haven’t seen in a year and a half and most importantly only staring at a computer screen for only half of the day instead of the whole school day.