Because of the coronavirus pandemic, students in Salt Lake City have been doing online school this year. And since we’ve never done online school before, there have been many struggles. There are a lot of reasons for this – lack of internet connection, not knowing how to log in, or not having the right equipment. It took my 6th grade class at North Star Elementary a long time for every student to be able to log into our zoom class and to turn in assignments.
It all started with the massive windstorm on September 9 that damaged cars and homes throughout Salt Lake City. That was supposed to be my first day of school. Because of the power outages, school didn’t start for a whole entire week.
On the first day of school, there were two students (out of 24 in our class) that didn’t show up. Attendance went up and down after that. I have noticed that after lunch some students don’t log back on. It’s usually the same students. Many students don’t turn their cameras on, even when our teacher asks them to.
On Wednesdays we have individual work time in the subjects of Art, Library and P.E. We have to tell our teacher what we did in each subject. For example, in P.E., we have to watch a video of our teacher and do activities with her, like stretches, jumping jacks, and running in place. If we don’t report to our teacher, we are marked absent for that day. Our teacher said that many students get marked absent and their parents get phone calls from the school.
Our teacher always explains how to do assignments and asks if everyone understands. The answer is always, “Yes.” But, I am sure that some students just say yes, even if they don’t understand. Sometimes the teacher will ask students who have completed assignments to help other students who haven't. I usually finish my assignments, so I often help other students in online breakout rooms. Most of the students don’t say much and even keep their cameras off, making it hard to communicate.
I always understand the assignments. They aren’t very hard for me. The only hard thing is that Zoom glitches. And when it does, it’s hard to understand the teacher. To be honest, doing anything online is kind of a challenge. Turning in assignments can be difficult. Sometimes it takes a really long time for an assignment to load or submit. I don’t have proper equipment, so I usually have to figure out different strategies to get assignments done without a computer or laptop. It can be a challenge typing over and over with only two fingers on my iPad.
I understand that my teacher is working hard and trying his best. Soon, I'm going to start regular school again. I feel excited to go back to normal learning, but I’m nervous about going outside of my house and being around a lot of people. I hope to do well even when the environment changes.