Local News

Young Observers: Early September Edition

For high school freshmen in a new school, our first day of classes was quite unusual.  Instead of frantically searching for the right classrooms, and possibly arriving late to our classes, we were worrying about Internet problems and making sure we were showing our faces to our teachers and not giving a tour of our bedroom or ceiling.

With distance learning being implemented again while we wait until it is safe to attend in-person classes, it is worth knowing how the students feel about it. Do they like it?  If yes, what makes it cool?  If not, what is it in distance learning that makes their lives miserable?  Is it something that parents or school officials can help with? Below is the result of a survey  I conducted two weeks after school opening, with the help of Fullerton Joint Union High School District teacher/ASB advisor Mike Paris.

Do you like distance learning?

•Yes: 112 (66%)

•No: 58 (34%)

This result is pretty interesting because in my previous article, only 25% of the high school student population in the district  were signed up for distance learning.  Even though the survey represented only a small group of high school students, the trend shows that more students actually like distance learning. Because it is the parents who have signed up for their students, could this mean that students’ preferences may differ from their parents’?

Top two reasons why you like distance learning:

•Learning from the comfort of my  home (no need to dress-up, commute, wake up too early).

•Relaxed/flexible format (no need to rush to change classrooms and longer passing periods/break times to do things like eating or just chilling out).

Top two problems with distance learning:

•Internet/app/device issues or interruptions on a regular basis. (slow internet, slow chromebook  that is also too small, buffering/connection lag, apps not loading or connecting) that keep students worried about missing what their teacher says or scared about infuriating their teacher when asking them to repeat a question. Other students feel nauseous or have headaches due to too much screen time on a chromebook that is too small.

•Boring/less engaging classes and missing the fun of  in-person interaction with teachers and classmates driving students to be lazy and not motivated to participate in class nor do homework.

Unlike my classes last spring with few students attending optional Zoom meetings, this year almost all students have been attending Zoom classes according  to the bell schedule because it is required. However, for these students who are not cool with distance learning, even the idea of being graded may not be enough to compel them to participate or submit their homework. So far, teachers have to  keep reminding some students to submit homework.

Top 2 favorite things to do during break or after school:

•Eating and taking naps.

•Using electronic devices such as phones, iPads, or personal computers to chat with friends, browse social media, play video games, watch movies, or listen to music.

It might be a relief for parents and school officials to know that in-person classes may soon be an option (around September 14 if Orange County remains off the watch list from Aug 23) but even when distance learning is the only option, it is great to know that more students get to appreciate the good things with this format. Nevertheless, it is important to note the top two problems that students have to deal with. The Internet/device/app issues seem to make life miserable for a great number of students (half of the respondents). While we are told to let teachers know and seek help from tech support, perhaps parents and school officials can come up with more ways to work around it. Lack of motivation due to the absence of in-person interaction is also worth a closer look. Only about a quarter of respondents are struggling with this problem but these teens are worth the time and effort of anyone who is able to help them win their battles. Thanks to the teachers who are making the effort to schedule one-on-one chats with each student in class. These conversations might help.

A mom does a lot for her family every day. She cooks, cleans, earns money, etc. Moms don’t get to take a break; there is always something for them to do. To celebrate moms and give them a break, National Lazy Mom’s Day was created. This holiday is celebrated every year on the first Friday of September, which falls on the 4th this year. It’s easy to get this holiday mixed up with Mother’s Day, but they are two very different events. Even on Mother’s Day, moms are usually doing something instead of resting all day. Lazy Mom’s Day allows moms to completely stop their work and take the full day off for themselves. I wonder if moms actually celebrate this holiday. It’s not too late to get your mom to start this tradition this year!

We have been in quarantine for almost six months. Can you believe that? I am not as bored, though, as I was when quarantine started. It’s because someone, or should I say, something very special came into my life. A guinea pig! I know that my parents would say no to a dog, because I already asked them millions of times before, so I knew a guinea pig would be a great start. Getting a guinea pig has really affected my life because it has helped me through this pandemic, especially in helping me not get bored. Also, when I am feeling sad, and I hear squeaking, it makes me laugh. Getting a pet during this pandemic really helped me, and maybe, just maybe, getting a pet will help you too.

TikTok is back with another food trend that’s supposedly soft, simple, and satisfying.  Cloud bread has recently become the hot topic of discussion. Like the name suggests, it’s soft and pillowy, almost like a mixture between bread and meringue. The best part is, you probably have all these ingredients lying at home, which include the following: 3 egg whites, 2 ½ tbsp of white sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, food coloring (optional), and vanilla extract for extra flavor (optional). It’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to make, but when it comes to food, the most important factor is undoubtedly the taste. There are several reviews online claiming that it’s not quite as appetizing as it seems. It doesn’t taste like your traditional bread; not even close to it. This pretty much defeats the whole purpose of “bread,” however, it’s a great low-carb alternative for those looking for a healthier option. And that leaves us with an important question—is this food trend really worth the hype?

School is back in session for almost three weeks now, and although we can’t see each other in person, it is still  fun to see old friends and teachers once again on screen.  Although distance learning may not seem so cool at first, it actually has many benefits not available when going to school in person. Here are some of the benefits that keep online school fun for everyone and sometimes even better than regular school.

Didn’t get your assignment done on time? Not to worry. Depending on when your teacher will correct your assignment, you can take some time during recess or lunch time to complete your work. Since we are all attending classes from our homes, sometimes teachers and friends (if they are allowed to) can give the class an inside look at their rooms or workspaces. This is always fun because you wouldn’t have a clue what your teachers’ or friends’ houses look like. Even funnier is being able to use virtual backgrounds, witness funny moments in someone else’s background, or just relax in your room as you learn all the same things you would learn in normal school. These things help to liven up the atmosphere and make everyone forget about the ongoing pandemic. Hopefully still, we will be able to go back to school soon  and see each other in person once again. Stay safe and happy!

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