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Online Classes: Yay, Nay, or Just Okay?

The first semester of S.Y. 2020-2021 has ended, and unfortunately, Christmas break is over too. On the bright side though, it’s 2021! A new year means a fresh start. By now, we’ve all more or less adjusted to the online class system. With only two quarters left, you might be wondering how other students feel about this whole situation after experiencing it for a while.


During the week of Sambang Umaga, we were able to gather one student per batch to participate in an interview about his or her online learning experience and how it has affected him or her. We asked all the participants a couple of questions, and maybe you’ll resonate with some of their answers. Before you get consumed in your requirements for the quarter, you should relax and find out what your fellow ICS students have to say in this article.


First Impressions


Not everyone sees things in the same way. Maybe you thought online classes were a burden, or maybe you didn’t really care at all. We asked the interviewees what their thoughts were when this whole system began back in S.Y. 2019-2020 when the virus changed everything out of nowhere.


“It was really cool because I always wanted to try homeschooling,” Theone Siscar from Grade 8 said as she talked about how online classes gave her the opportunity to know how it feels to learn even in the comforts of her home. For her, it was pretty easy to adjust considering she was already used to working at her own pace.


Elijah Carreon from the 9th grade had a similar reaction. He expressed how it wasn’t really a big deal, and it was something he didn’t mind too much. “I like staying at home, and when I realized that we wouldn’t have any exams anymore, I was really happy.”


It wasn’t exactly the same for the others though. For example, 7th grader Danni Pery explained how it was initially okay but later on got a little bit more difficult. “Actually, at first it was fine. I was good with the grades, but then when we started going on with it, the requirements suddenly popped up out of nowhere.” Hannah Rendal from Grade 12 more or less had the same impression, except for her, it didn’t exactly become harder. The whole situation just made her lazier.


“It was easier because I didn’t have to take notes as much anymore because it was all available,” Nigel Uy Cana, a Grade 11 student, remarked as he thought about the situation in regards to academics. However, the difficult part of it was the fact that the Wi-Fi in the place where he lives wasn’t so great. This caused him some trouble back then to the point that he had to use data instead.


The idea of online learning wasn’t so surprising for Jam Uy from Grade 10. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available to join the actual interview with the rest of the volunteers, but we were still able to get his thoughts on the matter. “I predicted there would be online classes or at least some kind of online education system, so my initial reaction was actually acceptance since I knew that this would be how things are going to be for quite a while because of the pandemic,” he expressed. He talked about how he didn’t adjust to it well at first because of the fact that he was too used to face-to-face classes. This whole new system was a real change in environment, and it took him a few weeks to get a stronger grip on the situation. What made it easier to adjust for him was how the whole system is repetitive in a sense that the more you get used to it, the more you know what to expect.


Pros & Cons


There are always advantages and disadvantages to every situation. Benefits and drawbacks. Pros and cons. You get to see a clearer picture of it all when you experience something for a long period of time. It was definitely a ride for all of us to figure out how online education was beneficial and detrimental to us at the same time.

Hannah listed down a bunch of online learning’s good aspects. She talked about how for a lot of students, it’s much easier to study at their own pace and that since lessons are being recorded, it allows everyone to be able to go back in case they missed something. However, that doesn’t make the negative aspects of online classes any better. “Let’s be honest. It’s also really easy to cheat, which defeats the purpose of having to continue to study.”


“For me, one good thing I found about it is I have more free time, and I get more sleep,” Nigel explained as he remembered his tight schedule during face-to-face classes which didn’t allow him to do much extracurricular activities. Despite this, he emphasized the fact that since he had more free time, his daily routine became harder to manage.


Elijah had similar thoughts, but he definitely looked more to the positive side of online classes when it came to handling free time. “It encourages us students to manage our time better, and that’s really going to be important once we start college and working.” He still acknowledged though the fact that more free time can backfire like what Nigel talked about, especially since it can make you want to relax more than be productive.


“Online classes give me more rest. Before the pandemic, I didn’t get enough sleep and it was hard for me,” Danni said as she shared the same sentiment as Nigel and Elijah.


Jam also made a lot of good points on why online education can be such a hassle. After all, not everybody’s internet is in good condition. Live classes can turn out laggy to the point that you can’t understand what’s going on, so you have to go back and use more time to learn what was being taught. Another major con he mentioned is how you don’t get to connect and communicate a lot with your peers. “I always become discouraged to do school requirements because I don’t have much interaction with anyone which is usually the one thing that boosts my morale,” he explained as he talked about how motivation is hard to find without encouragement. However, he also emphasized that online classes give you the opportunity to feel less pressured when it comes to completing requirements. After all, being able to work at your own time and pace doesn’t make you feel like you’re racing against the clock.


Despite the fact that working at your own pace lessens the stress, pressure can still come from new sources due to the online system. “Oral exams give you a lot of anxiety,” Theone remarked as she expressed how these exams are really the only major con for her. It’s quite relatable considering this is a new type of testing that ICS students aren’t exactly used to.


Online vs. In-Person Classes


Since most of us ICS students are used to attending school physically, we weren’t really sure as to how online classes would turn out. Some reacted to it in a negative way. However, others viewed online classes in a more positive light. With two different sides to the situation, it has definitely turned into a more or less controversial topic. All of the students we interviewed agreed on what each of them had to say. With that being said, here are some of the reasons why these students prefer in-person classes.


“I mean for me personally, I really, really liked in-person classes. For me, I think it’s better to have people around you to talk to,” Hannah Rendal said as she talked about how it was much easier to have students and teachers interact face to face rather than on the screen.


Nigel Uy Cana agreed with what Hannah had to say regarding this topic. He shared how physical classes gave him the motivation and drive to excel, especially since the teachers were monitoring him as he completed his tasks. Nigel also added, “There was that intense feeling of the teachers watching you, so you aren’t really free to do anything you want to.”

Jam Uy expressed how he would rather have in-person classes with his reason being that distraction was highly unlikely because it was a first-hand learning experience that included constant interaction. However, he said that he wasn’t completely against the online school system. He thinks that as technology is evolving, it’s better for education to evolve, as well. This may include integrating technology to our old school system. With our generation experiencing both physical and online classes, we pretty much get the best of both worlds.


Elijah Carreon also stated that he preferred in-person classes more than the online set-up that we have today. He wasn’t sure how to explain the reason behind why he prefers going to school physically besides the fact that the atmosphere felt really different. “There’s just this certain atmosphere in person that makes me focus on my lessons and requirements,” Elijah said as he expressed how the overall environment of studying at home made him feel less motivated and more relaxed.


“In-person classes are much better because you get to work with other people, and you really get to learn more,” Theone stated as she shared how physical classes give you the motivation to strive and understand the lesson rather than just being spoon-fed the information.


Danni Pery said that she also liked in-person classes more. Being around and connecting with people is one thing that online classes have taken away from her, and Danni said that being able to simply converse with others face to face is something that online classes don't give us. She also said that it was much easier to learn when we attended school physically because the teachers get to teach and guide you hands-on.


Even though adjusting to online classes has been difficult for most of us, we can certainly see how education is evolving, as well. There isn’t really a “better” side to choose from since we are all entitled to our own opinions. We may have two completely different set-ups, but what matters is doing our best for His glory no matter the circumstance.


Expectations


With two quarters swiftly passing by, we’ve more or less experienced the highs and lows of online classes. Roughly having the same schedule every quarter made it easier for us to get the groove of how this new system works. However, with a new year starting, some of us students have certain expectations for the upcoming semester. You know what they say, “New year means new beginnings.”


Sana tapos na yung corona na ‘to,” Hannah stated as she talked about how the next semester would most likely be even more difficult for the Senior High students. She said that they will be having research papers, which will be challenging especially since it’s a group work online. Despite the set-up, Hannah also said how she hopes that she gives it her all because it will be her last year in GCF-ICS.


Nigel and Hannah had similar expectations, since they are both Senior High students. However, Nigel had a different reason. He explained how he expects it to be harder because they only had two academic subjects for the past semester, and the rest were non-academics. Nigel mentioned that he thinks there won’t be much change in terms of the set-up besides the level of difficulty.


“My expectations for next semester are to hopefully have partial face to face classes and a slow but steady recovery from the pandemic,” Jam shared that he wanted to go back to school already. However, he also added, “If the situation does not permit, then I expect that online and distance learning will be the same so that I and everyone else won’t have to undergo another adjustment phase.” Jam said that if all of his expectations are met, it would give him an easier time next semester.


Elijah shared how he anticipates the next two quarters to be a notch harder. Having to deal with this set-up for the past five months or so wasn’t easy, but he thinks that the teachers are expecting us to at least have adjusted more with online classes since we were given an ample amount of time to do so.


Like Nigel’s answer, Theone also said that she doesn’t expect much change for the next semester. Since both teachers and students were still at the adjustment phase for the last two quarters, lessons and requirements weren’t as laborious yet. However, now that we’ve all had time to get used to it, Theone thinks that the lessons will be much heavier than what we had so far.


At first, Danni wasn’t sure whether the next semester would be harder or easier, but she ended up expecting it to be easier. She said, “I think it’ll be easier since I’ll be starting to adjust, and I’m starting to get this random motivation,” as she expressed how there was suddenly this little voice in her head telling her to strive and give it her best for the next two quarters that are approaching.


What Lies Ahead


2020 has been a crazy rollercoaster ride. From having classes suspended and having the last quarter at our homes to actually not being allowed to attend school for more than half of the year. It has been a year of adjustments and setbacks, but we might as well be excited for what 2021 has to offer. Even with all the expectations and resolutions out the window, we can still never really predict what exactly is going to happen next.


Even though this is the case, we can still enter 2021 with a positive mindset and spirit. If you’re feeling scared and anxious of what’s to come, we should always remember that God has everything under control. Our God delivered us from 2020, so we can be reassured in the fact that He will do the same for us this year. We should always remember that despite all of the changes, our Father is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Happy New Year, GCF-ICS family!


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