To Cyber or Not to Cyber?
disclaimer: Before anyone freaks out and says, "We're all doing cyber now!" I started writing this when we were all actually in school. Ok: back to the article! :)
December 1, 2020
Where are all of my friends? Are they coming back to school? After seeing students being in school for the first nine weeks, some cyber students have decided to switch from learning completely online to coming back to school full time.
“I miss seeing my friends, and seeing the teachers. It is so much easier to communicate with the teachers in school, than online,” said returning sophomore Annissa Bogan.
Being online can cause a huge communication barrier between students and teachers because your teachers don’t really get the chance to get to know you.
“My responsibilities as a cyber teacher are to: monitor student grades and progress, grade any assignments that require a manual grade, email students, and align the cyber course with the course being offered at KHS in the building,” said Johnson.
Looking at someone through a screen doesn’t give the teacher or student time to get familiar with each other, so there is not much interaction.
“The biggest difference between cyber and in-school is the social aspect of being in school. In all honesty, the social aspect of school was pretty much all I cared about as a sophomore. Also, looking at things as a student, I don’t know how anyone can learn from watching some stranger on a bunch of videos,” said cyber teacher and sophomore history teacher Mr. Johnson.
Completing school at home takes a lot more motivation and responsibility than it does when you’re in school.
“There is more accountability [at school]. It helps having actual teachers telling you when assignments are due, rather than just the occasional email,” said cyber junior Melanie Justi.
It’s so much easier to get behind while doing schoolwork online because people are used to relaxing at their house.
“I like the [school] setting, because it helps me focus on work. I know when I go into school I will work, and it is hard for me to get into the same mindset at home, because home is usually where I relax. I don’t get distracted as easily [in school],” said Bogan.
With all of the in school students following a strict schedule, we’re all left wondering how are all of the cyber students getting their work done?
“I miss the schedule and routine of [school]. It kept me motivated. Also, kinda weird, but I miss picking out outfits to wear and actually getting ready. Wearing pjs to school is getting a little boring,” said Justi.
Learning can be difficult when you’re not forced to be engaged in a live class with a bunch of other students.
“I think the main benefit of learning in school is that you have information that is explained to you in a number of ways. On Edgenuity, there is only 1 explanation. Sure, you could watch the ‘instruction’ as many times as you want, but it still is only being explained 1 way. In school, if a student doesn’t understand something, I can reword/rephrase my lesson in a way that helps them. In the building there are a variety of teaching styles that students are exposed to, which is helpful if they are going to further their education outside of KHS,” said Johnson.
The cyber program is different this year from previous years and can be more difficult and maybe annoying for some students.
“This is my second time doing cyber, I did it once in 8th grade with PA cyber and it was an amazing experience. However, edgenuity is just not cutting it for me, especially with junior year, so I think I would rather be in school. I just know that my grades would be so much better. The work that I am doing now is definitely not a good example of who I am as a student,” said Justi.
Cyber takes a lot more work out of you, and you really have to stay on task if you want to succeed in school that way.
“I think there are definitely people who would flourish in Cyber, but I am not one of those people,” said Bogan.
Now let’s talk about the benefits of being cyber.
“For some students, the benefit is that they are able to do the work at their own pace (sort of), and they are free from many distractions here in the building,” said Johnson.
Distractions can come from anything, so one student may get distracted in the building by random noises, while another student may get distracted by things in their house. It’s all about your own personal preference and which environment you work better in.
“There are definitely good things about Cyber, like the flexible schedule. I can wake up whenever I like, and I don’t have to get dressed up to get to school; I can just wear sweatpants. I can also take a break whenever I please, and I can eat in class,” said Bogan.
Cyber tends to follow a more repetitive schedule from day to day, which may get boring for some.
“I would say it’s pretty easy. If you stay on track you can get it done within a couple hours. It’s usually the same pattern for all of my classes of just watching videos, then answering questions, then doing a quiz. Every once in a while you get a chapter test,” said Justi.
This repetitive schedule might be the key to getting their work done for some, but for others it can be the reason you stop doing your work.
“When I can keep up with the work, it would be pretty easy, and I would get the work done in about two hours, but when you get behind, it takes weeks to get caught up, even when working from when you wake up, to when you go to sleep,” said Bogan.
One of the best things about being cyber is being able to create your own schedule. This is often times one of the main reasons a student will go cyber, along with getting to sleep in.
“Since Edgenuity is completely on your own time, you can do the work at any point in the day. That’s the biggest benefit I have experienced because I don’t have to make my manager schedule me around my school schedule, and I think he appreciates that too. And I can go shopping whenever I want and it’s never busy, it’s amazing,” said Justi.
I think most people are lacking motivation because the world we currently live in is kind of a mess at the moment, but I believe cyber students are having a more difficult time.
“I got off to a rough start with scheduling issues that put me behind in quite a few classes, and my grades are really suffering. I am taking APUSH this year, the biggest mistake of my life. I am confident it wouldn’t be a problem if I was in school, but I am having the worst time with the online work for it. I am just really lacking motivation, and it is so frustrating to see my GPA drop because I have always cared so much about it. It has even done some pretty hefty damage to my mental health, as I am sure a lot of cyber students would relate to,” said Justi.
Doing cyber school can be a huge change for students depending on how they learn, which is why a lot of students have decided to come back to physical school.
“I am planning to come back to school, only because I don’t want to fall behind on the curriculum. The online courses are not following the in person courses like I thought they would,” said Bogan.
School takes a lot of mental and physical work to complete, and mask-wearing and social distancing rules definitely add to the stress of school itself.
I definitely want to come back for my senior year. I am just going to finish the rest of this year online because I genuinely don’t think I can do in person learning right now with all the uncertainty. I know I wouldn’t be able to deal with all the new changes and regulations, but when things calm down I will be happy to come back next year,” said Justi.
Cyber can be really helpful for anyone who is at risk or really nervous about the world’s current state, but it all comes down to what’s best for each student.
“I’m sure it is stressful for all the students. I can’t handle stress well at all, so I decided to sit this one out,” said Justi.
A lot more students are coming back to school full time, so some class sizes have changed.
“My cyber classes are not really affected by students returning to the building. The big change is in my classroom, with new students being added, finding a seat for them, getting them up to speed with what we are doing, and getting to know the type of student they are. And for them to get used to my teaching style and how I do things in my room,” said Johnson.
To all the cyber students that are not planning on coming back to school this year, I wish you all well. There’s no way online learning is that easy. I’ll leave you with some words of luck from Mr. J.
“God bless anyone taking Calc or Trig online. May the odds be ever in your favor.”