By Oscar “Thirdy” Tan III
Nothing screams “new normal” more emphatically than online classes. A once intensely-negotiated concept has now become a reality. Ever since the months of July and August, students across the country — including myself — have been a part of this unique experience. It still remains debatable until this day, however, as to what effect it truly has on my peers.
There are two general points-of-view that a student can have on the idea of online classes.
First: that it is a privilege, considering our extraordinary circumstances. Also, due to the fact that classes are situated in the comforts of the home, they feel more comfortable because they can easily align their schedules according to their own preferences and pace. Quoting from one of my trusted schoolmates, online classes is an “innovative and comfortable way to study.” But apart from that, time-management skills and self-discipline are also developed along the way because several temptations (i.e. multiple gadgets, sleeping) are constantly present.
Second: some students claim that it is ineffective, due to multiple intangibles. The most obvious of those would be internet connectivity — as nearly all students have encountered connection problems at least once throughout the three-four months. One area that is important to look at is the general opinion that there is “no learning” at all in online classes. In my understanding, that would depend on each student’s learning strategy based on Howard Gardner’s theory. Those who are auditory learners may struggle with asynchronous activities; kinesthetic ones may struggle entirely; intrapersonal ones benefit holistically; and so on. Another notable issue is the surplus of performances tasks which may, at some points, seem “unrealistic.” One of my connections from a different school shared that during one stretch, they were given 42 total assignments in one week. This may lead to anxiety and stress on the part of the students.
Looking at both points of view, I would have to lean towards the former: that students are, after all, blessed to have online classes. Undoubtedly, it is not perfect; and there are still numerous flaws in the system. Over time, I am confident that the necessary adjustments will be made. But nonetheless, to be able to push through with an entire school year under these extraordinary circumstances, rather than delaying one and wasting a valuable year, is already a blessing on its own for the students.
To my peers, let me give you one extra homework this weekend: Please send a message of thanksgiving to your teachers. Tell him/her that you are grateful for his/her efforts. Their jobs are as tough, if not, much tougher than what we have to deal with ourselves. In a sense, they are also working as our frontliners. Give them the love and support that they deserve. Quoting Billy Joel: “I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new.” We can get through this ordeal. This journey was never meant to be easy; but once we reach the end of the road, we will realize that everything was all worth it.