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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

Do you think you have experienced ‘learning loss’ during the pandemic?

Class on Zoom has been hard for me; this is a photo of me in class for Mrs. Jackson’s 6th period journalism. (Screenshot by Jack Glavy)

I remember getting out of bed the first morning of virtual school, opening my laptop and joining my math class on Zoom. 

After that first day, I remember thinking, “How am I going to pay attention in these classes?”

The answer was that it would be difficult. It would be difficult to stare at a screen for nearly seven straight hours a day. It would be difficult to stay focused when the only way my teachers could teach was by speaking through their computers.

During months of virtual classes, I adapted to learning over a screen. Now, I didn’t learn to pay attention any better, but rather I became used to not paying attention in class. When Gonzaga adopted the hybrid model and after my first class, I quickly realized how much better I learned. I now try to attend in-person classes as much as possible because of how much easier it is to pay attention in them.

I learn so much more in a physical setting for many reasons. First, teachers can teach students personally. If I have a question, my teacher can physically help me using more than just words coming out of a screen. They can come to my desk and assist me much more directly. Second, I can focus much easier. Without the distractions of sitting in my house, such as my phone, computer, or gaming console, I can only focus on what’s going on in the classroom. The third reason I learn more is the increase in motivation. When I can talk to my friends and teachers about non-school-related topics in the classroom, I become more motivated to try on school-related assignments. When I’m alone sitting at my desk at home, I lack the motivation to try my best.

I definitely had a learning loss this past year, and I don’t think that it is insignificant. I learned more about other aspects of life, such as politics or racism, over the pandemic. While my experiences over the pandemic have been valuable, they can’t make up an actual education. I would have learned about politics and racism regardless of if I was attending in-person school or not.

On the bright side, I think Gonzaga has responded to academic challenges this year very well. I was lucky. They have opened up school as much as possible, especially for seniors. I have been able to attend school up to four days a week in person where I can actually pay attention. My teachers are willing to help as much as possible, even in a virtual setting.

As the pandemic slows down, I look forward to learning more in person and will try to catch up on what I have lost. 

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