Generation Z Adapts to Hybrid Learning Model

Students give their advice, tips, and personal thoughts on hybrid learning.

Gracie Chavez, Reporter

Hybrid learning does come with benefits, not only keeping the community safer but also helping people learn how to adapt to new things. The challenges of working together across the internet are vast including internet issues, computer crashes, and multiple distractions. As long as students are willing to overcome these issues it could put our generation on a path of greater independence and prosperity. Social media however can be known as a major distraction, from apps such as Instagram and Snapchat to apps like Netflix or YouTube. With technology as our main source of education, it may make it easy to get caught up in other apps and web pages. With all the different distractions, putting off work and letting assignments build-up has become a big issue. 

“It’s very easy for me to get distracted, even on my iPad I have YouTube… but I don’t recognize how much time I kill until I remember that I have to get things done. I’ll be on there for a good two hours,” Keyon Downing, senior, said. 

Even with distractions and other difficulties, it is important to know when work needs to be completed and continue to stay on top of assignments while keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy. 

“(SHHS staff) just need to understand that we probably tried… maybe just cut us some slack here and now and then,” Downing said. 

After the 2019-2020 school year ending with students at home and online, teachers and administrators did their best over the six-month break to make online schooling easier for the new school year by preparing students for what the future of education could possibly be. There will be many learning curves while on this journey, but as long as ideas are widely shared, together we can overcome any obstacles set before us. Communication between the students and staff may not be the best it could be, however, it is very significant to give reassurance to one another, along with the two different aspects each of them brings regarding educational views.

I think it is very important that (students and staff) communicate because it helps let everybody know what is going on and what the next step is in our education,” Ryleigh Kelly, freshman, said.

Both students and staff continue to learn more every day about how to better the system we have created to keep the school community as safe and as educated as possible. 

Every student goes to school following a block schedule with odd classes Monday/ Thursday and even classes Tuesday/ Friday, as well as 7th hour happening both days students are in person. There are many different opinions regarding block scheduling vs. the regular 1-7 schedule every day.

“I like block scheduling just because you get a lot more in-class time and more time to do your work,” Kelly said.

As for the days that are online, every student chooses to do their classes in a different way. 

“I try to do a little bit of every class every single day rather than doing block scheduling at home,” Kelly said. 

Teachers are also adapting to and learning about how to be efficient with hybrid learning. As the teachers prepared over the summer, coming back to school was different than what they may have expected.  After the first two weeks, many students felt overwhelmed with the amount of work handed out. Starting the third week, teachers lowered the amount of work and extended the time students had to get their work done. So far this change has helped students get back on top of their work and ease overwhelming feelings. Now students feel as though they have more time to focus on their school work and also their personal life. This is sure to help students achieve success on a weekly basis instead of overloading them and causing stress and lack of motivation in their classes.

“(My advice would be) to not give us as much work… I feel like they give us more work now than they used to give us,” Addison Bryant, sophomore, said. “Some teachers are giving us schedules on what we’re supposed to do each day… I like to go back and look to see what we had to do and see if I did it all.” 

Teachers give students their work based on the week, having both in-person materials and online assignments, but the biggest challenge students may face is the organization of all the material. 

I feel like they are trying their best to make it not so stressful but coming from myself I think it can get stressful whenever I put it off, but overall I think that I’m okay with the organization,” Bryant said. 

While some students see the organization as one of their struggles, others may have no issues with the organization. Rather, they are challenged by themselves with procrastination and what could be many other distractions. 

“I usually don’t get my work done until the evening because that’s when I usually can get the most done without procrastinating and really getting off task,” Bryant said. 

As teachers do their best to make hybrid learning as easy as possible, they are using techniques for their students that are very helpful to their education and to their everyday lives. Hybrid learning has been something that some would say is difficult to adjust to. With both online learning and in-person learning, things can become very overwhelming and confusing. 

However, students, teachers, and people of the Shawnee Heights community continue to make the best out of this difficult situation. After a six-month break from school, Shawnee Heights School District offered two ways of learning for students. The first is hybrid learning where students are in school two out of five days and online the other three. The students are split up into group A or group B based on their last name. Group A kids are students with the last names A-K, and they attend school every Monday and Tuesday. Group B are students with last names L-Z who attend on Thursdays and Fridays. This leaves Wednesday to the teachers and administration to clean and catch up. 

Staying motivated is a problem that a lot of students face, whether it’s very little or no motivation at all. As students learn in two different environments, finding motivation can be difficult. 

“My motivation is… I mean I want to go to college and if I don’t do my work then I’ll fail,” Downing said. 

Although motivation may be tough to find, the majority of students are still figuring out ways to work around the difficulties they have been faced with over the past several weeks. For many students, this will be a time of extreme growth for educational success, which should be able to follow through into future career paths. 

“I think what (hybrid learning) has done so far, it’s made me really lazy… I don’t seem to get a bunch of work done, especially when it’s online. I’m more of an in-person type of guy,” Downing said.

Although students may face the problems of staying on top of their work for the online portion of assignments, others may find benefits to what working at home has done. As most students could agree, remote learning has increased the amount of independence they have. 

“It kind of feels like I’m teaching myself,” Downing said.

As a majority of the 2021 seniors prepare for college, they are trying to keep up with work along with applying to colleges and staying in the right academic place to be eligible for college. Colleges all over the country have also started this school year with hybrid-like learning. 

“When I go to college and this is still a thing, I think I’ll be more prepared than what I would be right now,” Downing said.